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Remembering Casey Calvert

Casey Calvert collected toys and loved the Peanuts Christmas album.

He enjoyed filmmaker Tim Burton’s “Nightmare Before Christmas” so much, he got tattoos of images from the animated movie. And he was thrilled, said his wife, Ashley, when she took him to a 3-D screening of the film for his 26th birthday on Oct. 20.

Calvert’s kidlike personality and often zany take on life make the musician’s sudden death Saturday, while on tour with the Dayton-based post-punk band Hawthorne Heights, all the more unfathomable for his family, friends and legions of fans. Found unconscious on the tour bus by his bandmates, Calvert’s cause of death remains undetermined.

His wife said he was looking forward to the new year, when his sister, Cory Calvert, is due to give birth to a baby girl. “He was really excited that he was going to be an uncle,” she said. “He just loved little kids.”

That love prompted him to pursue a degree in special education at Miami University, until musical fame came calling in 2003 with a national recording contract for Hawthorne Heights.

He was the band member who made everyone else laugh, said Kelle Carli, wife of the group’s lead guitarist, Micah Carli. “He (was) always just hilarious,” she said.

Calvert’s amiability made him approachable and well-liked by the band’s fans, many of whom expressed shock and grief on a variety of Internet sites and message boards as word of the tragedy spread Sunday and Monday.

By early Monday evening, more than 1,100 MySpace users had posted “kudos,” indicating support, on the Hawthorne Heights page.

A message-board user at punknews.org wrote: “regardless of what you say about their music, this is a band of really good guys, and he was among the best of them. He’ll be sorely missed by anyone and everyone who knew him. RIP dude, if there’s a heaven I know you’ll be up there jammin with the best of them.”

Contact Carol Simmons

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