Mom Mourns Son After His Strange Death

Rory Graham died in lake last week

A man full of life who was strong in body and in faith is being remembered in the North County by loved ones.
On Thursday, family and friends of 23-year-old Rory Graham were still mourning his death and searching for answers after he drowned in lake while on a trip with a local youth group.

"He was on God's mission," Karen Williams said about her son.

An infectious smile in a photograph and awards on the walls of his family's home offer glimpses into the young Oceanside man's remarkable life.

"I can't question God why, 'cause everything is done in His perfect will, so I have to rely on that, that His perfect will would be done on this, but I'm going to miss my baby," Williams said.

Graham's mother said her son had strong faith as a child and never looked back.

In fact, Graham was the guest speaker this week at a camp for the North Cavalry Church High School youth group visiting Paso Robles. While playing in a lake with campers, though, something happened, and the strong swimmer struggled and slipped beneath the surface.

"By the time they found him, he was down at the bottom, 35 feet under," Williams said.

Despite many questions, Graham's family is now focusing on the life he led. Graham attended high school at the Army Navy Academy in Carlsbad.

It's little surprise that the chapel was his favorite place. He became the school's first ever black student chaplain. The honor is usually reserved for seniors, but he was elected as a sophomore, and for the next three years, he became affectionately known as The Rev. His mom had her own nickname for him, however.

"Tan Billy Graham," Williams said, with a laugh.

After graduation, Graham went on to Westmont College, where he graduated in just three years. He had recently shown interest in politics and law; in fact, he was awaiting the results of his LSAT exam.

"He was an example to society and the nation that you can life God's way and be happy," Williams said.

The family is hoping autopsy results will be available by the time of his memorial service a week from Saturday and will shed light on exactly what happened in the lake.

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