Keith Lapierre's second child is due in two weeks, and he and his wife, Tammy, had decided to wait and be surprised by whether it was a boy or a girl.
But he will not be there to hold his wife 's hand and find out whether the new baby is Sarah or Jake Richard.
Two weeks ago, Keith, 29, called his father over to his Worcester home to help carry up a door from the basement for the baby's room. It was the last time the two spent together.
Richard Lapierre called his son "my dreamer - `Dad, I'm going to be a preacher. Dad I'm going to play the guitar.' He just wanted to experience everything," he said.
But Keith realized his dreams. He joined the Marine Corps and achieved the status of lance corporal. He became a stockbroker, but after seven successful years left to become an elementary teacher in the Worcester public schools and spend more time with his family.
Keith was dedicated to fitness, never deviating from a daily training session.
"He was the most handsome man there ever was," his father said.
When he and his father once went to see The Who in concert, Keith Lapierre was approached by a modeling agent asking him to be in a commercial.
"But he didn't want any of that," his father said proudly.
At Worcester State College, where he studied business, he played wide receiver on the football team and outfield on the baseball team, his father said.
"He was the finest man that ever lived," Richard Lapierre said. "And I'm not just saying that because he was my son."