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Friends gather to remember model, athlete and soccer coach Davies Kabogoza

Kabogoza was set to wed May 30

Friends and loved ones gather to...

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Davies Kabogoza lived an extraordinary life that was cut short by a paddleboarding accident on April 29.

The 28-year-old Santa Barbara City College and Westmont College graduate drowned after falling from a paddleboard in the Santa Barbara Harbor.

He had rented the paddleboard and was given an inflatable life jacket. Search and rescue crews said the life jacket was tied around his waste, but the cord to inflate the jacket was never pulled.

Kabogoza's fiance Katerina Ford said he had paddleboarded several times before, but was not the strongest swimmer.

She shared a love letter he wrote to her her at his third memorial service held at the Santa Barbara Community Church on Thursday night.

They fell in love afer meeting at a party years ago and made plans to marry at the Santa Barbara County Courthouse on May 30.

Vicky Harbison was traveling when she met Davies. She said his charm caught her attention when he was playing soccer in a sport outreach team.

Kabogoza was raised by a single mother with two other children in Uganda and jumped at the chance to visit Harbison in Santa Barbara.

After graduating from Westmont with a degree in Kinesiology, he lived with former Santa Barbara mayor Hal Conklin.

Conklin said he was like a fourth son and a bit like Ferris Bueller.

He was discovered by actress Finola Hughes and was soon acting and modeling.

Conklin recalled watching Davies getting picked up in limousines.

He modeled during fashion week in New York City and owned 9 Armani suits.

On another modeling trip to New York during the holidays, Conklin bought him a ticket to see the Rockets matinee on Christmas Day.

Conklin thought he might be lonely, but  Davies called home afterwards and said Beyonce had invited him to a party in the hotel.

Conklin also said he saw him in the third row of the Oscar's telecast sitting next  to Lupita Nyongo.

Friends said he was fascinated by the cultural differences inside and outside of church.

His possessions didn't erase his need for love and acceptance or his longing for his father who had abandoned his family but phoned him in California.

Friends said if he had one thing to ask of people it was to remind them to extend themselves to others.

Ford hopes to travel to Uganda for his burial.

Anyone wishing to contribute to the costs of transporting his body home to Uganda may donate to a a go fund me account that has also been set up for the care of his mother, who has diabetes, and the humanitarian needs of his small village.

To donate visit https://www.gofundme.com/davieskabogoza


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