Griffin, Jake Prince memorialized

7:15 AM, Jul 4, 2012   |    comments
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SUWANEE, Ga. -- They were brothers, but they were very different. One was outgoing, cracking jokes so good he made family friends want to press "record" every time he opened his mouth. The other was shy, and rarely opened his mouth. When he did, he preferred to speak in a whisper.

Nine-year-old Jake and 13-year-old Griffin Prince, of Buford, were both killed in a crash on Lake Lanier last month. An allegedly intoxicated boater slammed into their family's pontoon as it cruised at night with several other families onboard. A hair salon owner, 44-year-old Paul J. Bennett, has been charged with Boating Under the Influence in connection with the wreck.

Jake's body was recovered that night, but search crews worked for over a week to find Griffin's body. His family said they were relieved they would only have to hold one funeral for both of them.

PHOTOS | Prince brothers' funeral

Tuesday afternoon nearly 1,000 people attended that funeral. It was held at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in Suwanee. First responders had special seats and received special recognition for their help in bringing closure to the family.

Laughter was mixed in with the tears as family friend Jeff Humphrey rose to deliver the eulogy for the two boys. Their caskets were stationed to the left and right of him as he spoke. He spent his time telling funny stories about both of them. He said Jake had too many funny stories to recount - and some that couldn't be told in church. He described a boy who loved trains, race cars and dirt bikes, someone who had a stand-up comedian's wit and sense of timing. Like the time he climbed up on a furniture display in a store and said, "I always wanted to know what a man cave feels like."

"I've never seen anybody like him," Humphrey said of Jake Prince. "He was a character, a living, breathing cartoon character - and he could quote them all."

When Humphrey moved on to Griffin, he described a totally different personality. He said Griffin was known as "Sweet Griffin," and he was "painfully shy and reluctant." He would get physically sick when forced to talk in front of a group, but had a hidden sense of humor. Humphrey said he found that humor when he caught the boys making prank phone calls using ideas they found on YouTube. He also saw it in Griffin's first post on his new Facebook page he got this year:

"The only bad part about going to the beach is you get sand in your buns," Griffin said on a vacation. "It ruins your hamburger."

Humphrey struggled to finish his words when he recounted the impact the boys had on his own son.

When the boys' grandfather rose to speak, he said the family has pledged never to speak of the two brothers in the past tense.

"I know I still have 16 grandchildren, Mike and Tara still have three sons, and Ryan is still the big brother," Gary Hansen said. "I expected to be there in heaven to greet them, but now I will be privileged to have them greet me."


Griffin and Jake are survived by parents Mike and Tara and older brother Ryan. They released a statement that closed with these words:

"These events were all foreseen by God, and while He does not cause bad things to happen, He can provide for much good to flow from such events. Certainly, our family is living proof of this truth. While we would gladly return all the blessings we have received from God since the day of this tragedy to have our two boys back; yet we know that reunion will be delayed until a future time and place so, until that time, we express our gratitude for the many blessings we receive every day."

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