Branden Thompson, 21, passed away from this life on the evening of Dec. 23, 2001, from injuries sustained while sledding on an inner tube. Although his passing was sudden, the last days of Branden's life were wonderfully spent - home from school for the holidays, enjoying his family and friends.

Branden was born July 2, 1980, in Riverside, Calif. Branden was a "hillbilly," having attended Idyllwild School continuously from kindergarten through eighth-grade. Branden went to Hemet High School and graduated in 1998.

Branden was attending Santa Barbara City College and achieved a 3.86 grade point average. He was pre-accepted and on his way to the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he was planning to major in engineering.

Branden was a highly valued employee at Cutter Mercedes in Santa Barbara where he worked as an auto mechanic. All were proud of his achievements at Cutter, and he had just been awarded a 100 percent raise.

His passion for mechanics, motorcycles and jet skies was inspired by two of his special mentors, Ed and Donell Thomas.

Branden loved life, loved people and loved learning. His life was fully lived, even to his last moments. And his gifts continue - through OneLegacy, Branden gave the gift of life to others he will never know.

Branden is survived by his best friend and soulmate of four years, Kristen Hughes of Hemet; his family - parents Phil and Cindy and brother Scott; his grandparents, Flo and Stu Thompson of Cathedral City and Eugene and Helen Pearson of West Virginia; many beloved aunts and uncles and cousins; and innumerable loving friends of Idyllwild and beyond.

Services for Branden will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 5, 2002, at Inspirational Point. In case of inclement weather, services will be held at Idyllwild Bible Church on Upper Pine Crest Avenue. A reception will follow.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent "in memory of Philip Branden Thompson" to the nonprofit organ donation network, OneLegacy, 4280 Latham St., suite A, Riverside, CA 92501, (909) 774-0920,

The Thompsons ask that as we reflect on Branden’s passing, we reaffirm our own joy and gratitude for life in all its beauty. The family thanks all who have given them such an abundance of love and caring. "When we remember you, it will always be with joy, love and gratitude for your life," said his family.