JASON Rich was looking forward to spending New Year’s Eve in Airlie Beach with his mates, and then planning his 21st birthday party.
Instead, friends and family are organising his funeral, after the Yeppoon man died tragically in a car crash on his way to work on Wednesday morning.
Jason’s car hit a tree off the Rockhampton-Yeppoon Road about 6.15am, and police have said heavy rain contributed to the accident.
After turning 21 on December 1, Jason had postponed his 21st party until after a brain operation he was due to have mid-January.
He was also planning to go skydiving with his dad Wayne after the operation.
The operation was necessary to deal with a cluster of veins on his brain, after Jason experienced a seizure last September.
Jason’s death is the second tragedy this month for the Rich family: Wayne’s mother died on December 12.
Mum Tracey, dad, and brother Alex, 18, will fondly remember most recently spending a quiet family Christmas together with Jason.
A former student at Yeppoon State School and St Brendan’s College, Jason had just finished his apprenticeship through Ergon Energy and was a qualified tradesman.
He had represented Central Queensland in soccer, but stopped playing after a knee reconstruction at 18.
Tracey said he had bought his own house and a car, and was planning his future. She described him as being “one in a million”.
“He had his head screwed on,” Tracey said.
He also loved working on his computer, playing computer games and using iPhone applications, and was an all-around technical handyman.
“He was the guru”.
Jason was a typical boy, loved fishing, the beach and being around people.
“He just loved hanging with his mates.”
And his mates remember his enthusiasm, his cheeky side and his great sense of humour.
“He was always up for a practical joke,” they said.
“And he never said no to anything.”
Wayne and Alex intend to get the tattoo that Jason had always wanted, but never got.
Jason had carried around a tattoo design in his wallet, but had always been told he wasn’t allowed to get one.
Friends and family are travelling from all over the world to attend the funeral, to be held on Tuesday.
In the words of one friend: “He was an angel on loan.”