Hundreds attend memorial for Newton teen

By Sarah Thomas
Globe Correspondent / August 28, 2010

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As hundreds of mourners gathered yesterday, the parents of a Newton teenager who died in a car crash Monday night announced a petition urging young drivers to heed traffic laws when they get behind the wheel.

“Like Santa checks a list twice, I will check on all of you twice,’’ Barbara Spivak, the mother of Adam London, a 17-year-old lacrosse star who would have been a senior this year at Newton North High School, told his friends. “If you don’t sign, I’ll come find you.’’

The petition asks students to refrain from drinking and text-messaging while driving and to observe speed limits and seat belt laws.

London’s father, Howard London, said in an interview with WCVB-TV that the teen was not wearing a seat belt when his car struck a tree on Bellevue Street in Newton Corner. The accident is under investigation.

The Brookline memorial service drew hundreds of mourners, many of whom shared memories of a young man they described as passionate, competitive, and full of life.

“Adam had such swagger. You knew when he entered a room, and not only because you could smell his cologne from a mile away,’’ said his twin sister, Lizzy. “I feel like half of me is missing, and I will think of him every day.’’

“Adam would give you the shirt off his back,’’ said Rabbi Donald Pollock, who shared memories of tutoring London in preparation for his bar mitzvah.

Yesterday’s service was held at Levine Chapels in Brookline, a large facility that was not sufficient to hold the many mourners. The crowd spilled onto the sidewalks, as people listened to Pollock and others speak through loudspeakers and watched the service on a large television.

Three of London’s friends — Evan Clements, Alex D’Agostino, and Kevin Barisano, a group of boys who grew up together and referred to themselves as “The Brotherhood’’ — spoke in remembrance. All three also served as pallbearers.

“Adam was like a brother to me,’’ D’Agostino said. “His mother, Barbara, was my mother, and the house on Blake Street where they lived was like my second home. He was taken away too soon.’’

Bussy Adam, London’s lacrosse coach, also spoke. London was a talented goalie, making the school’s varsity team as a freshman. Adam said that a scholarship will be founded at the school in London’s name.

In addition to talking about the petition that she hopes will keep other teens safe, Spivak read a poem called “Let Me Be Free’’ that Adam London wrote in the fourth grade.

He was laid to rest at Newton Cemetery.

The family will sit shiva at their Blake Street home until Tuesday. Mourners are welcome from 1-4 and 7-9 p.m. tomorrow, Monday, and Tuesday.

Sarah Thomas can be reached at

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