Mom: 'BUCKWILD' star a Christian, now in heaven

Published on NewsOK Modified: April 7, 2013 at 6:46 pm •  Published: April 7, 2013
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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — For all his on-camera carousing and cussing, "BUCKWILD" reality TV star Shain Gandee was a publicly proclaimed and baptized Christian, and his mother told hundreds of mourners Sunday that she will see him again.

"I know where Shain is," Loretta Gandee told the family, friends and fans crammed into the Charleston Municipal Auditorium. "He said about a month ago, 'I know when I die I'm going to heaven.'"

Dressed in a hot-pink "Gandee Candy" T-shirt and jeans, she spoke only a few words but bellowed out an unaccompanied hymn, her voice echoing through the auditorium in prayer for their reunion.

Gandee, his 48-year-old uncle, David Gandee, and 27-year-old friend Donald Robert Myers were found dead April 1 in a sport utility vehicle that was partially submerged in a deep mud pit near Sissonville. They had last been seen leaving a bar at 3 a.m.

Autopsies determined all three died of carbon monoxide poisoning, possibly caused by the tailpipe being submerged in mud. That could have allowed the invisible gas to fill the vehicle's cabin.

Shain Gandee, nicknamed "Gandee Candy" by fans, was a breakout star of the show that followed the antics of young friends enjoying their wild country lifestyle. Season one was filmed last year, mostly around Sissonville and Charleston.

The Rev. Randy Campbell told the many young people in the crowd he understands that life bombards them with difficult choices. But he urged them to follow Shain Gandee's lead and embrace their faith now, while they are energetic and engaged.

"This life will hand you a lot of things and call it pleasure, but there is nothing that brings greater joy to a person's heart than serving the Lord," Campbell said. "You may think at this point, you're having fun, but those days will pass."

When they do, he said, God is all that matters.

Cameras were not allowed at the funeral or private family burial in Thaxton Cemetery.

As hundreds filed past the two closed coffins on the auditorium stage, a slideshow of family photos showed the simple life that Shain Gandee lived long before TV cameras started following him.

Set to country music were snapshots of him as a uniformed pee wee football player, as a teenager in a tuxedo for prom, then graduating from high school in a black gown and mortarboard.

In other images, he kissed a bride and held babies. In several, he wore hunting camouflage, displaying a slain buck by its antlers and lining up a batch of gray squirrels on a bench.

Gandee favored four-wheelers, pickups and SUVs over cellphones and computers, and "mudding," or off-road driving, was one of his favorite pastimes.



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