73°F
weather icon Clear

Centennial Hills teen leaves legacy of creativity, kindness

Frankie Henriquez joked that she always waited for her son Robert Monterroso to exercise some rebellion.

On his worst day, she said, he was a calm, sensitive and big-hearted son and brother, keen on fostering his creativity.

It’s the music, light shows, dance footage, fashion designs and poetry he created before his March 22 death that Henriquez said comfort her in his absence.

“I just found 200 poems in his room that I had no idea he had,” Henriquez said.

Monterroso died after a year long battle with acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

His 368-day struggle involved two rounds of chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant, but his health didn’t interrupt his creative or social pursuits.

Monterroso moved to Las Vegas to be with his mother for his senior year of high school, and it didn’t take him long to build a social network, Henriquez said. His impact in such a short time was felt at his recent memorial service.

“He was very popular . Everyone knew who he was,” she said. “Everyone loved him. He wasn’t even from here, and there was a line out the door.”

Monterroso caught attention with his personality and penchant for wearing bright colors and reflective stripes on his “phat pants.” He danced a style called “hard-style shuffle,” produced music tracks and performed light shows with custom-lighted gloves.

Monterroso’s car fit his flashy tastes, too, thanks to a gift from the Kids Wish Network, a Florida-based nonprofit group that grants wishes to children suffering  from life-threatening conditions.

With help from Sams’s Auto Body  & Paint Shop, 3601 Meade Ave., Monterroso’s red 1999 Honda Civic was revamped into a “hot green machine” last fall.

It took about a month of adding a custom paint job, a carbon fiber wrap, a spoiler, window tint and new wheels and rims.

Monterroso received the keys to his car outside his Centennial Hills home in December, and he spoke then about his gift.

“I always wanted a car that looked like a street racer,” Monterroso said. “It’s more than I thought it would be.

“At first, I didn’t feel like I did anything to deserve any reward. I just thought about it and I was just like, ‘You know, this is horrible, and nobody should have to go through this.’ ”

Monterroso was excited to personally thank the people who granted his wish .

He was never cleared by doctors or his mom to take his new car on a ride longer than around the block.

“That’s my only regret . I’m kicking myself in the butt,” Henriquez said.

The family plans to keep the car, but Henriquez said she’s unsure whether her daughter or other son will get the keys.

The family hosted a memorial party with food, a disc jockey and a light show for family and friends.

Henriquez plans to compile her son’s writing samples and poems into a book that she may sell. She said the main theme of the poems was love. Monterroso was engaged to his high school sweetheart Ariel, his mom said.

“Until his last breath, he was always graceful and loving and peaceful,” she said.

Henriquez said she and her children find comfort in reflecting on his legacy and living by his example. “We’re just trying to make him proud,” she said. “It was an honor to have him for 19 years.”

Contact Centennial and Paradise View reporter Maggie Lillis at mlillis@viewnews.com or 477-3839.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
THE LATEST
7 ways autocomplete can get smarter

Autocomplete is one of the best (or depending on how hastily you push ‘send’ – worst) things in the world. We rely on it so much that Google plans to let us autocomplete whole emails. Here are seven ways predictive input can improve. 1. Recognizing names from previous emails Jakub Kokoszka has a tough name to […]

Movie posters might soon be based on your clicks

You may have thought you left Blockbuster behind, but the basic way we browse movies hasn’t changed all that much. We peruse poster after poster, kind of like walking the aisles of a ‘90s-era video store. That one poster image, meant to appeal to as many people as possible, is often all we see before […]

What I’ll be covering at NAB 2018

The National Association of Broadcasters show kicks off this weekend in Las Vegas.  The show focuses on new and emerging technologies and trends in relation to the media and entertainment industries. As it’s not open to the public, I’ll be at the Las Vegas Convention Center on Saturday, Monday and Wednesday to share some of […]

EXECUTIVE TRAVEL: Forget Strip flash; some prefer lake’s panache

If you get called to a board meeting at Lake Las Vegas, you might want to bring your swimsuit. That’s the term Westin at Lake Las Vegas marketing director Matt Boland uses for upright paddleboard races, one of many team-building exercises offered regularly at the resort.

After $4,700 in live poker career winnings, James Romero, 27, wins nearly $2 million

It was a 15-year celebration of The World Poker Tour at Bellagio for the Five Diamond World Poker Classic. The largest field size in WPT Five Diamond’s history was created when 791 entries were tallied, and it was James Romero, 27, of Portland, Oregon, who won his first WPT title.

Auto electronics at SEMA and AAPEX: A brave new world

The Specialty Equipment Market Association celebrated its 50th annual SEMA show at Las Vegas Convention Center this month by showcasing a car culture of “do-it-yourself” garage mechanics who share a passion for customizing vehicles.