His students and coworkers said Mike DeLuke always wore a smile at the gymnastics facility where he worked in The Woodlands.
Sadly, for those who knew him, the coach will no longer be around to encourage kids to follow their dreams to the mat:
The 29-year-old reportedly died Saturday in a bike accident along FM 1488 near Pin Oaks Drive.
According to authorities, he veered into the eastbound lanes, where a pickup truck fatally struck him.
“He had the most beautiful smile,” Ashley Axelson, mom of 4-year-old Riley, said in an interview, remember her daughter’s coach. “Every time he walked in, he would say, ‘Hi, Riley!’ And she would light up.”
Others at the gym are also mourning the loss of the reserved, but funny coach:
“He was the quiet guy who you looked at and always had something smart to say or smirky under his breath,” Coach Leah Still said in an interview. “When he did open his mouth, it always made everybody laugh.”
At the gym for the first night of classes, friends and co-workers signed a reportedly donated white-painted “Ghost Bike,” which the gym said they are planning to place at the scene of DeLuke’s accident as a memorial.
According to investigators and witnesses, being struck in the morning on a donut run to the Shipley’s Do-Nuts on the south side of FM 1488 meant DeLuke chose to take the eastbound shoulder, in the direction of traffic, to work.
May he RIP.