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After the death of Timothy DiLeo, top right, his two brothers and sister have tried hard to go on with their lives. From left are Steven, 12, Andrew, 8, and Angela, 14.

METHUEN — Nearly three weeks after their young son died in an accident at the Tenney Grammar School, Susan and Steven DiLeo are trying to help their three other children get back into a normal routine.

But it hasn’t been easy.

The family goes through waves of grief, Steven DiLeo said, and everything they do reminds them that Timothy, an active boy who loved baseball and Pokemon cards, is no longer with them.

Timothy DiLeo, 11, was playing at the school on Labor Day with his two brothers and a friend when an iron gate the boys had been climbing toppled over onto Timothy and his younger brother Andrew, 8. Timothy was killed, and Andrew was seriously injured.

Two days after Timothy’s funeral, 12-year-old Steven, who ran home for help after the accident, went back to the Tenney School for the first time this year. Andrew, who is recovering with a broken arm, will start school at Tenney on Monday. The DiLeos’

oldest child, 14-year-old Angela, has started her first year at a religious high school in Andover.

“We’re trying to get back into a routine for the kids,” said DiLeo, speaking at his home. “I’m heartbroken. But we have to go on for our three children. I want them to be happy again. It will happen in time. We’re all in it together.”

In their home, steps away from Tenney School, DiLeo is surrounded by cards, notes and gifts from family, friends and neighbors. A large poster covered with pictures of Timothy rests against the fireplace. Next to the poster is a bag of his favorite items, including a teddy bear dressed in a New England Patriots uniform.

In the kitchen, DiLeo has a Bible open on the counter. He’s hoping the family’s strong religious faith will help them. But so far, he hasn’t found the peace he’s looking for.

“We have a strong faith,” DiLeo said. “Right now, my grief is stronger than my faith.”



Thankful for community support

DiLeo said the outpouring of support from the community has been overwhelming. Neighbors have started a fund to support the family, which DiLeo is thankful for.

“Our family, neighbors, the school, church, and Northern Essex Community College where I work have been so supportive,” DiLeo said. “The thoughts, prayers and cards has been so needed right now.”

Timothy was remembered by the Methuen East Little League at the organization’s banquet last week. Timothy’s team, the Royals, coached by his dad, has won the minor league championship and all the players were going to receive trophies.

DiLeo took the stage to award the trophies to his players one by one.

“It was very emotional,” said league president Jim Dawe. “When Steve came out onto the stage, everyone stood up and gave him a nice, warm welcome. They did it twice.”

When Timothy’s name was called to receive his trophy, Steven DiLeo walked up to accept it, bringing tears to many people in the audience, Dawe said.

Timothy’s teammates all wore white T-shirts with a picture of Timothy in his uniform on the front and his number — 1 — on the sleeve.

Next season, the league plans to continue to honor Timothy. All of the players — there are more than 500 — will wear a patch on their jerseys with the number 1 on it and no player on any team will wear that number.

“Timothy meant a lot to the league, and we wanted to make sure the family knows we’re not going to forget him,” Dawe said.



Waiting for answers

The city promised the DiLeo family an answer on why the estimated 1,200-pound gate was taken off its hinges and left leaning against a brick wall.

So far, it has not released any findings of the investigation.

The family is looking for answers, but does not want anyone to feel guilty for the accident.

“The accident could have been avoided 1,000 different ways,” DiLeo said. “No one had any intentions of hurting my son. I haven’t responded with anger at this point, just sorrow. It is still really a shock to us.”

The family does plan to hire a lawyer, to determine what their legal options are, DiLeo said.

DiLeo said he’s thankful to the Methuen police, fire and paramedics who were on the scene of the accident. He credits them with saving Andrew’s life. The family is also thankful for all the gifts, prayers and donations in honor of Timothy.

“Timmy was a beautiful 11-year-old boy,” DiLeo said. “Every single thing we do, we feel he’s missing.”

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