Loved ones will gather Friday at West End SDA Church in Atlanta to mourn the loss of Shomari Billings, a 19-year-old who drowned at an Atlanta pool party on Memorial Day weekend.
Billings was the son of Shelley and Jarvis Billings and was an aspiring entrepreneur who had just completed his freshman year at Georgia Southern University, studying business.
Cindy Randall, the assistant dean of the Parker College of Business, recalls Billings meeting with an advisor and being very excited about his major.
“Shomari was an excellent student, engaged and enthusiastic,” Randall wrote in an email. “ I am sure he would have made a positive impact on fellow students and, upon graduation, would have carved out a successful career.”
Premlata Miller, Billings’ aunt, remembers a kind young man whose life was cut short.
“We will truly miss this sweet and awesome young man,” Miller said. “Everybody is all about having fun, what is intended to be fun, and sometimes you have got to be more aware of your surroundings and making sure that everybody is safe and looking out for everybody.”
Zaria Temuru was a friend and basketball teammate of Billings at North Atlanta High School who remembers his caring spirit, adding that he often helped her with her shots after practice.
“He was one of the sweetest people I’ve ever met in my life. He’d always make you laugh even if you didn’t want to,” Temuru said. “He cared about everyone and he made sure you were okay.”
Tara Torossian, a fellow classmate, remembers Billings as the boy who sold pop tarts everyday at school, but gave one to her for free anytime she was low on money.
“He sold them to pay his prom ticket,” Torossian said. “The fact that he’d offer them to me for free some days even though he had something important and expensive to pay for means the absolute world to me. His kindness seriously comes from within.”
Shaquille Kokumo met Billings while at North Atlanta and saw him as family.
“Shomari was like a brother to me. He was always one to make sure I and all his friends were always good,” Kokumo said. “It’s crazy because the last time I saw him was when we went to Miami together for spring break and all we were talking about is how much money we were going to make in the future.”
Miller began raising money to assist with funeral arrangements through a GoFundMe fundraiser, which can be accessed here.
Sarah Smith, The George-Anne News Editor, firstname.lastname@example.org