OGDEN -- Legions of motorcycles glinting in the sun congested around the cinderblock bike shop, a horde of people, many clad in biker leather and tattoos but from all walks of life, clustered inside.
They were there to pay their final respects to Deyne "Sid" Stocker, 24, who died May 24 in a motorcycle accident in Ogden. More than that, though, they were there to remember how his life had changed theirs, and they were there to discover how they could learn from the outpouring of love he left behind.
"A lot of people met him one time, and he touched their life," said Stocker's mother-in-law, Collette Anderson. "Today changed my life forever, seeing the love and giving. It makes me want to do more for people."
There were hundreds of them, and they gathered at the place he most loved, his motorcycle repair shop, at 341 E. 35th St. A white and black sign hung from the rafters: "Forever 2 Wheels," it read. A brown urn holding his ashes sat in front of a bouquet whose white flowers popped against the dim surroundings of the workshop. A procession of loved ones wrapped outside the shop and patiently waited to filter to the front of the line, where photos of Stocker waited, propped on top of silver tool boxes.
It was a funeral, yes, but it was not funereal. The smell of food wafted through the workshop. The buzz of motorcycles was constant and filled the neighborhood, as people continued to arrive. There were faces wet with tears, sure, and there were mournful, consoling hugs. But outnumbering those were smiles and jokes and stories.
"It was not unlike him to throw the biggest party," said Stocker's mother, Danice Zulliger, pausing every so often to thank loved ones who had wandered over to share their condolences. "If he could swear in the newspaper, he would say, '(expletive) yeah.' "
Before he could walk, Stocker knew he wanted to work on motorcycles, and he'd envisioned himself owning his own shop. But it was less a wistful dream than something he was destined to do, a reality that could not fail to be fulfilled.
"He was born with a wrench in his hand," Zulliger said.
One of Stocker's closest friends and the custom painter for the motorcycles he built, Adam Paul, remembered the day Stocker strode into his shop over four years ago looking for a job.
The passion for bikes exuded from Stocker.
Paul was barely making enough to scrape by and didn't have money to pay an employee. But what he did have was space, so he made an offer that would alter both their lives. Stocker soon moved in and started his business.
"It's amazing to think where he started to where he is now," Paul said. "We started out on a storage shed. We were broke and relied on each other. It wasn't easy, but we both had a vision. And we made it.
"He's true to the roots of what a real biker is. He's like the last generation of that, passionate about bikes and pushing the limits."
Though he devoted much of his life to them, motorcycles didn't encapsulate Stocker. He had a loving wife, Afton, and two children, Addelyn, 4, and Knoxton, 1, who take after him.
"Knoxton is already mechanically inclined," Anderson said. "If he sees a tool, he beelines right for it."
A smile stretching over his face and rays of light bouncing off his sunglasses, Paul reminisced about how Stocker had loved the family he'd created, and he spoke of Stocker's warmth that had charmed those around him.
"He left you feeling better. He thought about stuff like that. There was nobody like him. People always say that when people die, but it's God's honest truth."
The people flowing through the shop Saturday were a testament to that. There were those of all ages, races and upbringings. They wondered what life would be like now that Stocker was gone, and they connected and reminisced, and they marveled that one man had the power to bring them all together.
"He was always my hero," said Stocker's brother, Rylan. "He was always an outcast, a different type of person. So when he became popular and was in the position to have the power, he always gave people respect."
Sometime in the weeks to come, Anderson said, Stocker's friends and family will gather again.
They will pour his ashes into the air intake of Rita, the first bike he built, made mostly of scrap parts. Perhaps not surprisingly, that is where Stocker had always wanted to end up when his time on Earth ended.
"He always wanted to find a way to do something cool," Zulliger said. "Why spread your ashes when you can burn them in your motorcycle?"