2 bands perform benefit for victim of crash Teen died June 21

money goes to family for marker

July 17, 1996|By Mary Gail Hare | Mary Gail Hare,SUN STAFF

An engraved stone and a bench soon will mark the grave of a young baseball player at Springfield Cemetery. The memorial is a gift from the 17-year-old's friends.

Timothy B. Shifflett was killed in a car crash June 21. A pitcher for Liberty High School and the Carroll County Rangers, a recreation league team, he was on his way to a Rangers game at North Carroll High School.

Police said his 1990 Chevrolet Cavalier drifted across the center line on Route 97 and crashed head-on into a pickup truck. He died at the scene.

His stepfather, Frederick E. Reitz, waiting for him at the game, knew something was wrong, because Tim had never missed a game. After several phone calls, he learned of the accident from state police. Grieving family members make daily visits to the cemetery and take consolation from the many people who stop by their home in Sykesville.

"Tim's family needed our help, and we wanted to do something in his honor," said Scott Laur, 18.

Laur and the other members of the rock band Stain organized a concert in honor of Tim, their friend since middle school.

Baseball was Tim's passion. He had played since he was 6 and received honorable mention recognition this year on all-county baseball teams selected by the All Central Maryland Conference and The Sun.

"He had a really good year for Liberty as a pitcher," said Sue Reitz, his mother.

But Stain was a close second in competing for the young man's time. He went to all of the band's concerts and most of its rehearsals, carrying equipment and helping the band set up.

"He was kind of our roadie," Laur said.

In the two weeks after the accident, Stain and the Hated, another local band, organized a benefit concert at Super Sports in Eldersburg. The arena's donation of space eliminated overhead and $1,200 in proceeds from the July 5 show, which drew an audience of about 250, went to the family.

"His parents said they knew Tim's friends meant a lot to" [him], Laur said. "We wanted to show that he meant a lot to us."

L Tim's family attended and thanked the bands for the tribute.

Linda Laur, Scott's mother, goes to nearly all of Stain's concerts. She enjoys listening as Scott plays drums, and she is used to loud reactions to the music from the audience. The benefit concert was subdued, particularly when Stain played Tim's favorite song, "Smile."

"They all just sat on the floor, so respectful, so quiet," Ms. Laur said. "This concert was the only way everybody thought they could do something to make things easier for the family. I am very proud of all these boys."

Stain members write and play much of their own music. They practice nearly every day in the Laurs' unfinished basement and often scribble messages on what they call the band wall.

Tim had scratched "Stain rules, Tim" on the wall.

Sue Reitz said she did not know before how many friends her youngest son had. As the family prepared for graveside services, hundreds of young people joined them.

"Seeing all those kids coming over the hill to be with us is a sight I will never forget," she said. "He touched so many people."

The money raised at the concert paid for the marker much sooner than the family could have, she said. The stone will be placed in about a month.

"It has his name, a picture of Tim in his baseball uniform, two crossed baseball bats and 'dedicated by friends and family' printed on it," she said.

At the grave, friends have left notes, poems and flowers. Ms. Reitz is having a bench installed for those who want to stay a while.

The compassion of so many is helping the family cope, she said.

"We are so touched and so appreciate all this," said Ms. Reitz. "But especially his friends. They have been in and out of my house for three weeks, and they are such a comfort."

Pub Date: 7/17/96

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