BATH TOWNSHIP — The mother of Matthew Converse, the young boy whose body was recovered from a pond near North McCullough Street this past Sunday, would like donations made on her son’s behalf to be sent to Bayliff & Son Funeral Home in Cridersville, which is helping the family plan a celebration of life service for Converse in September.
Converse, who had autism and was prone to wander away from home, went missing around midnight Sunday. His body was discovered less than 24 hours later.
“Unfortunately, with autism, children wander. This is a parent’s worst fear,” his mother, Stephanie Berna, told The Lima News. “Everything I did to protect him was in place.”
Converse dreamed of become a police officer or firefighter. “Those were his dreams,” Berna recalled.
She’s now planning a celebration of life service to be held at 2 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 8, at Ottawa Metro Park.
“I want Matthew remembered for the way he loved to make people laugh and the people he touched with his heart. And the fact that if you were having a bad day, he would come to you and give you a hug just to make you feel better,” Berna said.
A GoFundMe crowdfunding campaign created by Converse’s cousin and grandmother has raised more than $1,000 since Sunday. His grandmother, Deb Culp, said proceeds will help cover memorial service expenses.
Because of public interest, Berna said she’d like donations to be sent directly to Bayliff & Son Funeral Home, 311 W. Main St., Cridersville.
“We need our closure, but we need to remember him the way he would want us to,” she said.
Reach Mackenzi Klemann at 567-242-0456.