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Family remembers Henderson boy for ‘his kindness and his big heart’

Updated March 15, 2022 - 4:07 pm

A boy killed near a Henderson school in what police said was a reckless driving crash was remembered during a Monday memorial service as a beautiful, giving child who overcame several obstacles in just 13 years.

The service for Rex Patchett at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 400 S. Water St. in Henderson, drew hundreds of people.

The church was so full that staffers continued to add seating in the rear as more and more people arrived to pay their respects to Rex’s parents, Jason and Samantha Patchett, his three siblings and extended family.

“The outpouring of love and support for Rex and his family has been tremendous,” said Patchett’s uncle, Derek Sutherland. “It speaks to all of the moments Rex has provided for us.”

Rex was struck by a car while on a sidewalk in the 100 block of East Paradise Hills Drive at 5:18 p.m. on March 7.

Henderson police said a 21-year-old driver, Jose Marmolejo, lost control of his black coupe and that the vehicle then went up on the sidewalk near Mannion Middle School and struck Rex. Police said they believe Marmolejo was speeding, but impairment was not suspected.

The tragedy prompted a plea from Henderson police for drivers to slow down on the roadways.

Marmolejo was scheduled for a felony arraignment on a reckless driving charge on Wednesday.

Monday’s ceremony, however, focused exclusively on the life Rex lived and the joy he gave those who loved him.

His grandfather, Rodney Burr, described Rex as a popular student at Mannion and recalled measuring Rex’s height weekly until he grew taller than his grandfather.

“He was smiling most of the time,” Burr said. “He was enjoying life. He loved it.”

Rex was born with several health ailments, many of which could be traced to a genetic disorder, his grandfather told mourners.

Rex also had extremely delicate skin. He underwent eye surgeries to fix his vision, and at one point in his life, he traveled to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, for surgery, leaving his grandfather to say “it was amazing to see him overcome what he did.”

Despite the health challenges, though, his family recalled how Rex was unfazed.

“Courageous,” Sutherland said. “Life threw what to many of us would seem like a series of challenges at Rex, but Rex rejected a paradigm of negativity. … I asked him about how he was feeling (about the surgery in Minneapolis) and he said, ‘Good. I get to ride on an airplane.’”

Rex also was an avid sports fan, and his favorite athlete was MLB star and Las Vegas native Bryce Harper.

“Whenever you talked to Rex about sports, he literally was a walking encyclopedia,” Burr said. “Every morning for several years he was the first one up at 6 or 6:30, and you know what he would do? He would turn on SportsCenter … he would watch it religiously.”

Family described Rex as a sensitive child who cared about his fellow students.

“Rex will always be remembered for his kindness and his big heart,” his family wrote in a program handed out to mourners. “He never wanted anyone to feel left out, and was crushed if he thought he had hurt someone’s feelings. Rex was great at enjoying the journey of life, and could find happiness in almost any activity.”

A previous version misstated the location of the Mayo Clinic.

Contact Glenn Puit by email at gpuit@reviewjournal.com. Follow @GlennatRJ on Twitter.

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