Student mourned as officials investigate a similar death in Arkansas - - Tulsa, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports - |

Student mourned as officials investigate a similar death in Arkansas

ENID, Okla. (AP) _ Friends and family of a student who died after a night of drinking at a University of Oklahoma fraternity house struggled to understand his death during his funeral services Sunday.

An overflow crowd gathered at Central Christian Church Sunday to pay tribute to Blake Adam Hammontree.

The 19-year-old Medford High School graduate was found dead Thursday morning in the residential area of the Sigma Chi fraternity house.

His blood alcohol level was .42, five times the legal limit. A medical examiner said Hammontree had a lethal dose of alcohol in his system.

Norman police are investigating the death as a homicide. Hammontree had been a pledge at the fraternity.

``We are here to celebrate the life of Blake Adam Hammontree, share our grief and have faith that death is not the end,'' said the Rev. John McLemore, pastor of Central Christian Church, where Hammontree had been member.

One of the most difficult things to do, McLemore said, is to understand the death of someone when it occurs in such an untimely fashion.

``Blake is now in heaven,'' he said.

Teachers and friends remembered Hammontree as a young man who liked to play baseball, made friends easily and cared about his family.

Hammontree was a freshman at the University of Oklahoma majoring in business.

In a letter to his son, read during the funeral, Jack Hammontree said he loved and missed his son.

``I miss you so much my entire soul is wounded,'' wrote his father, an associate district judge in Grant County.

He said there was no one left to talk about guy stuff with, and he promised, ``when my life is done you will be as proud of me as I am of you.''

Representatives of Sigma Chi fraternity were present at the funeral and placed a white flower on the coffin.

Since Hammontree's death, OU President David Boren has said all social activities at the fraternity house would cease and that a supervisor will be placed in the house to assure compliance.

Mark Anderson, executive director of Sigma Chi, which has 220 undergraduate chapters, said the fraternity's policy is not to allow drinking at events involving pledges.

Hammontree's death is the third confirmed alcohol-related death at U.S. colleges this fall. Earlier this month, Lynn Gordon Bailey Jr., 18, a freshman at the University of Colorado, died after apparently drinking heavily with his new fraternity brothers, and Samantha Spady, 19, died at a Colorado State University fraternity house with a blood-alcohol level of 0.436 percent.

On Sunday, University of Arkansas officials were awaiting toxicology reports in what police suspect was an alcohol-related death of a fraternity member. The student's name and fraternity affiliation was not immediately released.
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