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Bubbly 6-year-old boy was always smiling

Six-year-old Korbin Drake LaFluer, a rising South Boston Elementary School first grader, died Wednesday morning after recently undergoing a surgical procedure.

His mother, Kristy LaFluer, found him unresponsive in his bed at their Greenway Drive, South Boston home, authorities said.

 According to South Boston Police Capt. B. K. Lovelace, the boy had undergone an outpatient tonsillectomy, and when his mother went to check on him, she discovered him deceased.

 South Boston Police responded to the call around 2:30 a.m., Det. C. L. Carswell said.

The body was sent to Richmond for an autopsy, Carswell said, and a cause of death has yet to be determined.

Friends and family members, reeling from the news of Korbin’s death, remembered the fun-loving and energetic youngster who attended The Worship Center, played T-ball for the GCR team and simply loved racing.

“There’s going to be a void at the race Saturday night (at South Boston Speedway) in tailgate section 13. That’s where he always sat every week cheering all the race drivers on,” said his aunt, Dana Mayo, whose husband Bruce races in the Pure Stock Division.

“He was always so happy, and he was happiest at the races,” she added.

A true fan, Korbin didn’t play favorites either. He loved and seriously pulled for his uncle, Bruce, but he also had a special place in his heart for his sister’s boyfriend, Jake Brown, who also races in the Pure Stock Division at South Boston Speedway.

“Even though Bruce and Jake raced in the same division, he pulled for all of them,” his aunt said.

And the youngster never met a stranger.

“Even before his surgery last week, he was going up to people telling them about it. He talked just like a little man,” she added.

But to be so young, Korbin just turned 6 on July 10, he had a serious side.

Mayo said at church the Sunday before his surgery, he went up to the pastor before the service and asked him to pray for him as he was going to have his tonsils removed.

“He was one of those children who was happy all the time, and he loved everybody,” the aunt continued. “You couldn’t help but fall in love with him. He was really an outgoing little fella. He was such a trooper.”

For his birthday and just days before his tonsillectomy was scheduled, his big sister, Kayla, took him to the beach because he had never gone.

“It was the first time he had ever been, and that’s where he got Mr. Crabs,” his aunt said, referring to his new pet hermit crab he brought home from Virginia Beach.

His teachers also cherish fond memories of their time with Korbin.

Kimberly Tuck of Virgilina was his kindergarten teacher at South Boston Elementary School last year.

Tuck credits a 5-year-old Korbin with calming her first day of school jitters.

Her first year in the classroom, Tuck said she will never forget the first day of school when this energetic kindergartener came bouncing into the class with a Mohawk and a smile on his face.

Korbin was glad to be in school and in Miss Tuck’s kindergarten class.

“When I first started meeting the kids on my first day, he came in with this great big smile, and it just made me a lot less nervous. His big smile helped calm my nerves that first day,” she recalled.

“He enjoyed anything about cars. I believe someone in his family raced cars,” Tuck said speaking of his uncle, Bruce Mayo, “and he loved to talk about racing.”

His kindergarten teacher said he was a child who enjoyed being around other kids.

“He was a very friendly young man, and all the other kids got along with him well. He especially liked playing outside,” she said.

His favorite subjects were science and social studies.

“I’ll never forget that smile and his Mohawk. His mama would fix it every morning for him,” Tuck added.

Korbin also had an opportunity to attend summer camp at South Boston Elementary recently.

His summer camp teacher Lanetta Jeffreys remembers Korbin as “very energetic and full of life.”

“He kept us laughing with his favorite ‘Peanut Butter and Jelly’ kids’ song by Dr. Jean,” she added.

“He was a hard worker who got along very well with the other students attending camp this summer. I am shocked. I just can’t believe it happened,” Jeffreys said.

“One of the last things he told me was he was going to have his tonsils taken out, and he was excited about it because he would be able to eat all the ice cream he wanted.”

“It’s so sad,” she added.

A funeral service for the 6-year-old will be held Sunday at 3 p.m. at Brooks Funeral Home with Pastor David Berry and the Rev. Norman Talley officiating. Burial will take place in the Cole Family Cemetery. 

Visitation will be held prior to the service from 1 to 2:30 p.m. and at other times at the home, 703 Greenway Drive, South Boston.

Born July 10, 2006, Korbin was the son of Kristy LaFluer of South Boston and Christopher LaFluer.

He is survived by a sister, Kayla Cole, of South Boston and a brother, Christopher LaFluer Jr., of Halifax.

Also surviving are his maternal grandmother, Brenda Cole of South Boston and paternal grandparents, Dennis and Pauline LaFluer of Roanoke.

An aunt, Dana Mayo and her husband, Bruce, of Halifax, an uncle, R. D. Cole Jr., and his wife, Dori, of Alton, also survive along with his cousins and a special friend, Jake Brown, and pet hermit crab, Mr. Crabs.

He was preceded in death by his grandfather, Doug Cole.

The family is requesting memorial to the family be made in care of Brooks Funeral Home, 115 N. Main Street, South Boston, VA 24592.

Tiffany Hudson and Daniell Vaughn contributed to this story.