BLOOMFIELD — If you ask Larry Bell's friends about the secret to happiness, they agree on a simple phrase: "Live like Larry."
The 23-year-old, known to many as "Mr. Bloomfield," was a popular personality who swore he would never leave his beloved hometown.
Known for his love of God, football and homebrewed beer, Bell was a five-year volunteer firefighter with the Bloomfield Fire Department, an All-State football player for the Bobcats and a southwestern cowboy, according to his older brother, Martin Bell.
On Aug. 7, Larry Bell died in a single car roll-over crash on County Road 5068 outside of Bloomfield. He was pronounced dead at the scene, according to the San Juan County Sheriff's Office.
On Sunday, more than 30 friends gathered atop "B Hill," the landmark hill that overlooks Bloomfield High School and City Hall, to honor him. They gathered rocks and formed them into a giant letter L, painted white, to the left of the town's signature blue letter B.
"It is really neat to see so many kids step up to the plate and support the Bell family during this terrible time," said Carla Lynch Shull, a family friend. "It's a reflection of our town, of who we are as a community -- more like a family."
Larry Bell's parents, Lloyd and Cindi, said the community has helped them in the wake of their youngest son's death.
"There were 50 or 60 people at the crash site, mostly kids who knew Larry, on their knees in the gravel, praying for him and our family," Cindi Bell said. "Larry was larger than life, a chameleon. He was kind to everybody. The day before, I asked him how he was doing, and he said, 'Mom, I'm livin' the dream.' And he always was that way -- happy, full of life."
At the funeral Tuesday morning at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Bloomfield, hundreds filled the pews inside and about 150 people stood outside the front door.
One of the honorary pallbearers was Anthony Schmitz-Bustos, the driver of the car that crashed and killed Larry Bell.
Cindi Bell asked him to take part in the service after meeting with him and his parents at her home over the weekend.
"I told Tony, 'You didn't let this happen. God took my son,'" she said.
She promised to support Schmitz-Bustos "every step of the way." The 20-year-old has been charged with vehicular homicide.
Deputies found Schmitz-Bustos walking away from the scene of the crash on Aug. 7, according to a news release from the sheriff's office. Deputies said Schmitz-Bustos had been "messing around and spinning out" when
San Juan County Chief Deputy District Attorney Dustin O'Brien said that the victim's family has a right to be heard.
"Whenever a victim's family has strong feelings about the case -- either way -- not only do we take that into consideration, but the court takes it into consideration," he said.
For now, Larry Bell's family is thankful for the support they have gotten since their son's death.
"It has been tough, overwhelming," said Larry Bell's father, Lloyd Bell. "Kids joke that Larry was spoiled rotten, but Bloomfield spoiled him rotten."
Derek Estes was Larry Bell's lifelong friend and his roommate this summer.
"I needed a place to stay and Larry took me in," he said. "He was always doing things like that for people. He loved everybody."
Reporter Ryan Boetel contributed to this story.