Kayla Herrera, 20, laid her head on her friend’s shoulder Thursday night as Ashley LeBlanc hugged her.
Ashley LeBlanc: Courtesy photo
William Nolan, a former Eastern New Mexico University student, was a talented musician and an inspiring friend, according to his Portales friends. Nolan was killed when he was struck by a vehicle Tuesday in Albuquerue while walking on the sidewalk.
The last words Herrera ever heard from her 22-year-old boyfriend, William Nolan, were “I love you.”
Herrera reminisced with her friends Thursday about Nolan leaving her a voicemail about being at his parents house about to pick cherries.
“It’s so peaceful and I wish you were here,” were his words in the message.
Nolan, a former Eastern New Mexico University student and member of the popular local band Taller Than Aubrey, was killed while walking Tuesday in Albuquerque when a truck jumped a curb onto the sidewalk.
Nolan left the Portales university in November 2011 to move back to Albuquerque with his family.
Herrera said Nolan planned on finishing school at the University of New Mexico in the fall.
“He was so charming and so kind and respectful to everyone,” Herrera said through glossy eyes. “He was so honest and very respectful.”
Herrera and other friends of Nolan’s, who gathered Thursday, all agreed “inspirational” was the best word to describe their friend.
“From a musician standpoint, he was inspiring to anyone who came across him,” Ashley LeBlanc said. “He was always willing to teach and let everyone know everything he knew.”
“He really gave me the final push as a musician to play in bands in shows,” said her husband, Jon LeBlanc. “He helped me start my band. I couldn’t imagine meeting someone more genuine. He was always honest and straight forward.”
Nolan played multiple instruments, including the guitar, bass guitar, drums and banjo.
“He’d sing you a song when you were sad,” Jon Leblanc said. “He was always ready to do that. I’m going to miss him so much.”
The group of friends said Nolan loved the outdoors and always encouraged others to go on walks with him or play their instruments outside.
“The first time he ever asked me out was to go climb a tree,” Herrera recalled with a smile.
“It’s something that’s hard to grasp,” friend Brianna Pilon said of Nolan being gone. “Knowing him was powerful. He inspired so many.”
Pilon said Nolan inspired everyone he knew in their art forms and to enjoy live.
Herrera said she and Nolan were making plans to get a house together in Albuquerque after she graduated from ENMU in May 2013.
“His biggest thing was being a caregiver,” Herrera said. “He was definitely unique and special and I knew that from the moment I saw him.”