“Well-mannered, great kid and kind of quiet at times,” that’s the way Marty Kinard described his brother-in-law, 14-year-old Alex Weston Rickenbaker, who died due to injuries sustained in an ATV accident on Saturday.
He was a ninth-grader at Edisto High School and played on the school’s baseball team.
Kinard, who’s married to the teen’s only sister Linsday, said his love for baseball developed at a young age.
“He loved anything outdoors too,” he said.
“Everything he did, he was proud of -- every fish he caught, every deer he killed,” he said.
Kinard said Rickenbaker killed a duck and prepped it as though he was a taxidermist. He was proud of that, Kinard added.
He loved to build things and having projects to do, he said.
“You rarely saw Alex without a hat,” he said. “He loved his hats.”
He had about four or five different hats, Kinard said. “He had a hat for fishing, a hat for hunting, a hat for ‘just because’ and a hat for when he dressed up.”
The teen’s middle brother, Tyler Rickenbacker, dared him to get a haircut in the style of a mullet, Kinard said.
A mullet hairstyle is when a person wears their hair longer in the back while shorter on the sides and front.
“He wanted to get a perm, but his mom wouldn’t let him,” Kinard said with a laugh.
He noted that his brother-in-law especially wore hats after accepting his brother’s haircut dare.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, he spent time with Kinard’s two young children.
Sometimes Kinard took his children to the teen’s house and sometimes the teen visited them.
“He’d spend all day with them,” Kinard said. “He took them on golf cart rides.”
“He loved our kids. He was good with kids,” Kinard said.
Edisto High School principal Alexis King sent notifications to students’ parents on Monday night.
In part, she wrote, “It pains me deeply to inform you of the loss of one of our own.
Over the weekend, we learned that Alex Rickenbaker, a ninth-grade student at Edisto High School, passed away as a result of injuries he sustained in an accident.”
“While we believe every member of our school contributes to the community here at Edisto High, the loss of a student pains us in ways that can be difficult to cope with. We know that you share in conveying the deepest sorrow and most sincere condolences to Alex’s parents, brothers, family, and friends,” she said.
King told parents that students also received an email letting them know of the teen’s passing.
“We encourage you to speak with your student as they process their feelings and emotions,” she said.
She told parents that the school’s counselors are available to students as they cope with feelings of grief, shock and loss.
As for his baseball teammates at Edisto High School, “They’re affected, there’s no doubt. They’re devastated,” Edisto High School’s head baseball coach Seth Cooper said.
“This is something you don’t want to ever have to go through,” he said. “It’s tough and mindboggling.”
“It still doesn’t feel real,” he said
Cooper coached both of the teen’s brothers -- Tyler and Will -- in recent years.
“He was a good kid,” Cooper said. “Wherever you needed him to play, he was able. If we didn’t have a catcher to catch, he was willing to do it. He took everything in stride.”
After Edisto takes on Silver Bluff High School at home on Monday, April 12, at 6 p.m., Cooper said the lights in the stadium will be lowered and a ceremony of light will be held in memory of Alex Rickenbaker.
Cooper said the paper lanterns and candles have been ordered and the ceremony is open to the public.
Including his siblings, Alex Rickebaker is also survived by his parents, Todd and Alice Rickenbaker and many beloved family members and friends.
He’s being laid to rest at 2 p.m. Thursday at a graveside service in Memorial Park Cemetery on Broughton Street in Orangeburg.