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Clarement memorial service planned for teen who died in Sunday's crash in Unity

Union Leader Correspondent

August 13. 2014 9:53PM

Calling hours for Jonathan Michael Varnum Jr., 17, are planned from 4 to 8 p.m. Friday at the Stringer Funeral Home on Broad Street in Claremont. (Stringer Funeral Home)

CLAREMONT — The first memorial service following the tragic death of three local teens in a car crash Sunday in Unity is planned for Friday.

Calling hours for Jonathan Michael Varnum Jr., 17, are planned from 4 to 8 p.m. Friday at the Stringer Funeral Home on Broad Street in Claremont.

At 8 p.m., a time of sharing is planned.

A Stringer Funeral Home representative said Wednesday that the funeral home is also handling arrangements for the other crash victims, but the plans are not yet final.

Recent Stevens High School graduate Brittany Bailey, 18, of Claremont and Stevens High School senior Brandon Rock, 17, were also killed in the crash.

Varnum was born in Claremont, according to his obituary.

He is the son of Jonathan M. Varnum Sr. of Unity and Joice A. Paskell of Claremont and leaves behind one brother and three sisters.

He was a senior at Stevens High School in Claremont, where he was named student of the year, and was an aspiring machinist.

“He loved spending time with his entire family and his large circle of friends,” his obituary said. “He will be remembered most for his kind heart and sense of understanding of things along with his contagious smile.”

He also enjoyed four-wheeling, cars, food and snowmobiling.

“It’s not something we’re going to heal from easily,” said Jack McClay on Wednesday.

McClay’s wife, Jodie, is a cousin to Brandon Rock’s mother. He was also Varnum’s boss as owner of Out of the Ordinary pizza restaurant on Pleasant Street.

“I feel the whole community’s in mourning, trying to figure why,” McClay said.

Survivor in fair condition

Everyone in the community is wishing the lone survivor of the car crash, 17-year-old Selena Carrier of Claremont the best, McClay said, and are glad to hear she is now in fair condition.

“It’s going to be a long road for her,” McClay said.

Still hospitalized, Carrier was listed in fair condition on Wednesday, a Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center spokesperson said.

State police responded to the crash at 2:10 a.m. Sunday.

Police said the black 1997 Saab 9000 was traveling north on West Unity Road at a high rate of speed when the driver lost control, striking a tree and splitting the Saab in two.

The collision also brought down the 150-year-old oak in the front yard of Larry and Diana Owen’s home at 758 West Unity Road.

McClay said the Owens have been gracious and kind by allowing a memorial in their front yard where the crash occurred and by allowing grieving community members to visit. Pretty much anytime you go by the crash site, you will see someone visiting, McClay said.

More than 30 teenagers reached out to the grieving parents this week, McClay said, through home visits.

McClay said he was visiting with Rock’s family when the teens came for a visit.

“It was just a total surprise,” McClay said. “It was heartfelt from the kids. It helped the parents, for sure, to know that they had that many people that loved them.”

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