Tributes, fundraisers planned for teen killed in boating tragedy

Published 12:18 am Friday, June 16, 2023

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BRIDGE CITY — Little League associations across the area are coming together as a community to show support for Conner Curtice.

The Groves teen, 14, died May 30 after falling overboard from a boat in the Neches River. He was an avid outdoorsman who grew up hunting, fishing and playing sports.

Bridge City Little League Board President Eric Metts said a lot of people in Bridge City are familiar with the family and friends, which led the league to add Curtice’s initials to their fields.

One of Curtice’s’ siblings played in the Groves league on the All Star Team, he said.

“Baseball is a family deal off the grass. On the grass we definitely compete but when we’re off the grass, we’re family,” Metts said.

BCLL began adding Curtice’s initials to the fields recently and the plan is to add them to all of BCLL fields.

“The 10-year-olds started Monday night and we have the initials on their field as well and we ordered patches for their jerseys,” he said.

Some of the players wore stickers on their helmets in honor of Curtice, he added.

BCLL is one of the largest Little Leagues in Texas, Metts said. Registration this year was 810 with players ages 4 to 16.

Metts said other Little Leagues in the area are also adding Curtice’s initials to their fields including Groves, Port Neches and Hamshire-Fannett.

Eight-year-old players from Groves and Vidor Little League teams paid tribute to Conner Curtice. (Courtesy photo)


Sundara Coffee House in Groves will hold a benefit for the family of Curtice from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. June 24. The Orangefield location will also take part by donating a portion of sales that day to the benefit, owner Paul Borel said.

Cups for Conner feature guest baristas such as representatives of Groves Fire Department, Crimes Stoppers of Southeast Texas, Gulf Credit Union, Davis’s Donuts & Deli, Magic Express Car Wash & Lube and Groves Inspections Department to name a few.

Bonne Vie Continuing Care Network will hold a “split the pot” with tickets on sale at Bonne Vie and Sundara. The drawing will be held June 23.

During the event there will be a silent auction, face painting, live music and more, he said.

Borel’s family has known Curtice’s family for years, so when Borel heard of the tragedy, he wanted to help.

“When I first heard about it I wanted to do something,” Borel said. “I thought I’d raise just a couple hundred dollars. But personally I felt like we had to do something more.”

Borel began to reach out to people across the city and beyond and found people also wanted to help. From there it became a community event.

Sundara Coffee House is located at 4000 Lincoln Ave., in Groves and 6381 FM 1442 in Orangefield.

— Written by Mary Meaux