A family grieves, a community comforts after teen’s death


Charlene Newport’s pain may only be equaled to the questions rolling around in her mind.
Why did her son, Connor, die by suicide?
The death of the 16 year-old shook his, family, dad Rob, his brothers, twin Logan and Jordan and sister Karissa. The grief rippled through his hometown of Oil Springs, his friends at LCCVI and the hockey community in Petrolia and East Lambton. And it has left a huge hole in a mother’s heart.
“I wished I would have known,” she sobs. “I could have been more helpful.
“We didn’t see this coming. We don’t have the answers.”
Newport says her son was like many other high school kids you would meet; he loved the outdoors, got into a bit of mischief now and then and he loved hockey.
Charlene says he would have his sticks taped and be ready to go even before practice – urging her to get going so they wouldn’t be late getting to Alvinston.
And the teen loved spending time with his friends. “The best part of high school for Connor was going out for lunch with his friends,” she says laughing through tears. “He kept getting lates (slips).”
That tight bond with his friends makes Connor’s death even more confusing for a family drowning in questions.
“Connor had so many friends – I don’t understand.
“We all are going to have a lot of questions that will never be answered.
Charlene, who is a teacher at Lambton Centennial, told The Independent Saturday the love shown by their community was keeping them going as they prepared to lay the teen to rest Monday.
There was an outpouring of love for the Newports. Friends of the family put up yellow ribbons on the main street of Oil Springs and Petrolia so the family would feel the support as they went to the funeral home for visitation, say friends Stacy Gordon and Karen Cook.
“This is every parents worst nightmare, says Gordon. “The whole community feels their pain…We want the family to see they are not alone; the whole community is behind them – we want them to see that love.”
“Charlene never wants to see another family go through this,” added Cook.
At the funeral, friends and family wore blue – Connor’s colour since childhood so people could tell him and twin Logan apart.
Cook admits she called the twins ConnerLogan, knowing it was the only way she would get their name right.
Members of the community also stepped up. Hull Bus Lines offered four school buses to transport LCCVI students to the funeral at the Brooke-Alvinston-Inwood Community Centre. The hockey community also stepped up to show support with minor hockey families chaperoning.
“We have been overwhelmed with all the support, generosity and kindness,” says Charlene. “People have been incredible.”
And she says the support is welcome. “When it (the funeral) is done, we are going to need to go forward but we need help to do that.”
She says the family will be seeking out counseling.
Death by suicide in the past has been clouded in secrecy with families not talking about what actually happened. Charlene Newport wants to talk about it. “I don’t want to hide… people have to be aware.”
Newport doesn’t want other families to find out about mental health issues the way they have. She knows this will be a life long struggle. Right now she’s having a hard time believing it is real. “I still woke up and I didn’t remember it had happened.”


  1. I was so sad to hear of your son’s suicide through my family, who you helped a number of years ago when they lost their Dad to suicide. Please know that this is most horrific event to happen to a parent and all the family and friends that knew him. In Strathroy we have a Survivor’s of Suicide Support group that meets the last Wed of every month to offer emotional support, from others who have suffered a suicide loss. You are not alone and we would welcome anyone who would like to join us. It’s 6:30 to 8:30 @ 21 Richmond St (CMHA) Strathroy.You can call me anytime for more info. 519 205 1055 Nancy Gough

  2. Please accept my most heartfelt condolences on the loss of your son who sounded like an exceptional young man. I don’t know you but I lost my daughter Lara to suicide nearly six years ago. Losing a child is difficult enough. Losing a child to suicide is all the more heartbreaking. At first I kept thinking “what did I miss? Could I have saved her if I had gotten to her sooner? Etc. the questions swirled around in my head. I know there are many answers I will never learn. Please send my love to your family. ❌⭕️❌⭕️❌⭕️

  3. My heart feels your pain. I lost my son to suicide four years ago. Prayers and hugs to you and your family

  4. I do not know you but my heart breaks for you and your family. I dont understand what is with many young people today, how they can get so down and lost to end their life. May you take comfort in knowing that others care.

  5. I unfortunately know your pain first hand. My son Michael took his life March 3rd of this year at the age of 32. If you need someone to talk to please don’t hesitate to send me an email.

  6. Your courage to openly share such a difficult tragedy will help others and is commendable. To talk and share is important so thank you for that on behalf of young people and others impacted by such difficult circumstances. I have been praying for you. As a mother I hope that all of your unanswered questions and pain you feel will be comforted by trusting that your love mattered to your son. No matter how much we love our children there are some things that are out of our control. But your love mattered and nothing can change that. God bless you and may you feel and be comforted by the love of others who care for you, your family and your son. ❤️

  7. I’m so so sorry for the loss of your beautiful son❤️ Thankyou for sharing thus to help save another. God Speed. ????❤️❤️❤️????

  8. My deepest sympathy to Connor’s family and friends. I also lost a son to suicide at the age of 15. My message to you is that there will be terrible days ahead and it seems like the pain won’t end—but eventually things get better!
    I went to a support group “bereaved parents” which was a help for me.
    There is light at the end of the tunnel and my thoughts and prayers are with you

  9. My deepest condolences to the family. Know you are not alone. I have an organization “Survivors of Suicide Loss” i get it. No taboo, no secrecy. Suicide grief is difficult. Its not like any loss there is. Be gentle on yourselves. You can get through this. Patience. I am here. Please feel free to contact me. I will listen. Penny

  10. On behalf of the South Kent Midget Rep Lightning I wish to extend our sincere condolences on the loss of your son. We will keep you and your family in our thoughts and prayers. I want to commend you on your bravery and strength on wanting to enlighten society on the prevalence of mental illness in our youth at this most difficult time. Sincerely Ronny VanHeesch –Head Coach Midget Rep Lightning

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