Hundreds attend celebration of life for Lucas Armand

Laughter, sadness fill Del Oro High auditorium
By: Matthew Kimel, Journal sports editor
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Hundreds of Lucas Arthur Armand’s friends gathered at Del Oro High School’s Performing Arts Auditorium Friday afternoon at a celebration of life for a boy who passed away too soon.

Lucas, a beloved son, brother, friend and athlete who went into cardiac arrest while miniature golfing in 2011, passed way on Dec. 20 from a severe case of pneumonia. He was 15.

Friends, who ranged from coaches to nurses, stood at the podium taking turns sharing cherished memories of Lucas. Some speakers smiled, recalling Lucas’ polite, courageous and energetic personality.

Others shed tears, adding that the Armands’ loss was their loss as well.

The crowd ranged from adults to children.

Lucas’ father, David Armand, said that his son was popular with people of all ages.

“Some parents used to say, ‘I hope my son grows up to be like Lucas,’” Armand recalled earlier this week.

Lucas, who suffered a massive heart attack on Sept. 23, 2011, followed by a debilitating anoxic brain injury, was an avid runner who was well known throughout the Loomis Basin.

On the soccer field, he was known as an enforcer, who respectfully avenged any harms done to his teammates.

As laughter and sadness filled the auditorium, speakers told tales of Lucas, remembering his respectful, tough and scrappy ways.

Some spoke of his adventurousness and the way he was a compassionate leader.

“At 13 or 14, I told him you’re a better man than I am,” David Armand said. “He was incredible.”

Following the traumatic incident that sent Lucas to the hospital, David Armand said the situation his son faced was “hopeless.”

“It was beyond hopeless,” he said. “He was in the hospital for over a year. Millions of dollars and they could do nothing for my boy.”

Still the Loomis community supported the Armands in various ways, from donations to bathing the boy in his time of need.

“There was a group of people that came every Saturday for bath day,” David Armand said. “They were mainly parents whose kids had gone to school with Lucas. They knew him well. When he’d say, ‘Thank you,’ and looking at them in the eye, that was who Lucas was. So many adults knew him, from coaching and other relationships with him, they admired him.”

Lucas lost his battle on Thursday, Dec. 20, 2012.

The initial effects of the anoxic brain injury left Lucas with little more than minimal autonomic functions, prompting some medical professionals to predict he would survive less than one month. 

With the persistent and unwavering support of his family, friends and community at large, Lucas fought gallantly against the insidious and debilitating effects of the injury.

Lucas continued to fight for his family and friends until he could no longer withstand the degenerative impact of the injury on his body. 

The Armand family said they will be forever grateful to their extended family, friends, Loomis Basin communities, UC Davis Medical Center staff and Westview Healthcare Center staff for their tireless care and support of Lucas and his family.

Lucas, who attended kindergarten through eighth grade at Penryn School, had just started his freshmen year at Del Oro the month before he was injured.

He loved sports and participated in cross country, track, baseball, soccer and skiing at the Auburn Ski Club.

Lucas is survived by his father David, mother Nikki, sister Jacqueline, grandmother Maureen, grandfather Armando, grandmother Susan, aunt Helene, uncle Steven, aunt Robyn and cousins Ada and Owen.  He was preceded in death by his grandfather Arthur and aunt Jacqueline.

In lieu of flowers at the celebration of life, the family asked that those attending make a donation in Lucas’ name to the charity of their choice or, join them in further honoring Lucas and inspiring others by contributing to the “Lucas Armand Donation Fund.” 

The proceeds will be used by the family to set up and support an annual college scholarship to benefit a cross country and/or track and field athlete(s) at Del Oro.  Anyone still wishing to donate may do so at any US Bank.

Reach Matthew Kimel at Follow him on Twitter @matthewkimel