Family, friends share memories of Shawn Negley

Shawn Negley enjoyed kayaking with his family at Findley Lake, New York.

Senior Shawn Negley was known for his sense of humor and positive attitude. 

“He was always trying to make people laugh,” junior William Kelly said. “He was a fun person to be around.”

Negley was injured in a car accident in late February north of Butler and was taken via Life Flight to St. Elizabeth Hospital in Youngstown, Ohio. He remained in critical condition for 34 days and died on March 31.

“He was my best friend. We would always talk,” his sister, sophomore Kristen Negley, said. “The house doesn’t feel the same without him.”

Shawn Negley moved to the Baldwin-Whitehall school district from Butler in his eighth-grade year and attended Baldwin’s Cyber Academy since his sophomore year. He made some lasting friendships in the area during his time here.

“I want people to remember his humor,” senior Tyler Oliverio said. “He was one of the funniest people I knew.”

Negley was close with his friends and his family, especially his sisters. His family would often vacation at Findley Lake in New York. 

“He loved being by the lake and kayaking. He was very outdoorsy,” his stepfather, Drew Cocco, said.

He was one of the main reasons I started to talk to people at work because he was one of my first friends there.  

— Leyton Yokopenic


“He was easygoing and funny, and he was a hard worker and very dedicated,” Negley’s mother, April Williams, said. “He was also very respectful. All of the parents loved him.”

Negley played football for Baldwin during his sophomore year. 

“He wanted to play because me and my friend Tyler played, and he was friends with all of us,” senior Aidan Malloy said. “We kind of convinced him to join.”

“During two-a-day (practices), we would always sit in the garage and talk during breaks,” Kelly said. 

Negley also had a few memorable plays as a member of the team. 

“There was a JV game where he caught a touchdown pass,” Malloy said. “I remember he was in the slot, ran a route, the quarterback hit him, and he caught it.”

Negley also enjoyed playing video games with his friends and collecting Funko Pops. 

“(We would) get home from football practice, and (play) Xbox,” Malloy said. 

Those who attended Negley’s funeral service were encouraged to wear bright colors. 

“He was more of a bright person. He (wouldn’t) want anyone to cry over him. He (would want) them to be happy and celebrate (his life),” Kristen Negley said. 

Kelly agreed that the bright colors for the service were particularly appropriate.

“It was to brighten up the environment and be able to look back at the good memories with him, and not the accident,” he said. 

I truly believe that Shawn’s heart was in helping others or teaching. It did not really matter what he was doing.

— Ted Pavlack

Negley attended Steel Center for almost three years, starting in the carpentry program as a sophomore. His Steel Center teacher, Ted “Pav” Pavlack, said Negley had great leadership skills. 

“From his first year in my class at Steel Center, Shawn was a leader and ahead of the class in almost everything,” Pavlack said. “He was a very fast learner and always laughed.”

In the carpentry program, time is split between bookwork in a classroom and hands-on activities in the woodshop area. One of the book tasks is to complete a daily journal, which soon became a core memory shared by Negley and Pavlack. 

“Shawn had the worst handwriting! It was so bad that I would get a big smile trying to read his daily journal,” Pavlack said. 

His teacher also noticed his ease and eagerness to help other students, especially new students and those with special needs. 

“I truly believe that Shawn’s heart was in helping others or teaching. It did not really matter what he was doing,” Pavlack said. 

Senior Nick Love is also enrolled in the carpentry program and was a good friend of Negley’s.

“He was always hard working. He never complained about anything,” Love said. 

Cocco, his stepfather, agreed, noting Negley’s ability to complete tasks efficiently.

“He always put his head down and worked hard. He never missed a day of work,” Cocco said. 

Love said Negley had planned to continue carpentry as a career, possibly specializing in flooring or cabinet making.

Negley also worked at the local pizza shop Mm! Mm! Pizza. He convinced his sister to also take a job there, and for the shop to hire her. 

“He really wanted me to work there,” Kristen Negley said. 

“He was a very hard worker. He would always show up and he took a lot of hours,” sophomore Leyton Yokopenic, who also works there, said. “If you ever needed him to cover a shift for you, he would.”

As he did at Steel Center, Negley established himself as a leader and a friend at Mm! Mm! Pizza. 

“He was one of the main reasons I started to talk to people at work because he was one of my first friends there,” Yokopenic said.