Friends and family gather to honor the life of Devon Smiley


As a new school year arrives, many in our area are taking the time to remember the life of a West Michigan high school student who died almost two years ago in a car crash.

That teen was South Haven high school's quarterback and the 2015 homecoming king, Devon Smiley.

Today, Devon is being remembered for kindness, and that kindness is now being paid forward.

A caravan of golf carts cruised forward, each filled with someone who knew Devon.

The 17-year-old’s death weighed heavily on his high school and elsewhere. His father said he thinks about Devon every day.

“Some days you work at it more, some days you get a little better at it,” Trevor Smiley, Devon’s father, said.

Today's golf outing is helping to raise money for a scholarship named after him.

The scholarship is awarded to students in high schools throughout West Michigan pursuing their higher education.

A few of the scholarship winners were there to honor Devon, all sharing memories of the late 17-year-old.

Angie white is one of those recipients. She was homecoming queen in 2015, the same year Devon was homecoming king.

“It's definitely hard not sending him a text to say, ‘how's it going,’” Smiley said.

With shirts on sale bearing Devon's name, family and friends keep the former quarterback's kindness front and center.

His mother says the sheer number of people present validates their son's warmth and in turn, eases their pain as parents.

“We did something right as parents,” Melissa Smiley, Devon’s mother, said.

His mother said through acts of kindness, Devon lives on. He also lives on in the scholarship that bears his name, allowing others to pursue their dreams.

That scholarship, she said, puts smiles on the faces of the recipients, and that would have made Devon proud.

“He was best known for smiling, every single day,” Melissa said. “So, giving someone a smile is a great way to start your day. It helps people out whether they realize it or not.”

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