RACINE — More than friends, Terry Lee Bohanon Jr., or “Gus,” seemed to make new family members wherever he went.
The 24-year-old Racine man died unexpectedly of a heart attack last week in his Milwaukee apartment, bringing members of his families from his home, neighborhood and high school up to the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee on Thursday night for a vigil.
Listening to Bohanon’s friends at UWM describe how they constantly cooked for each other and how Bohanon gave his time and everything he could for them, Brian Mosley, 23, of Racine, remembered the same experience while he and Bohanon attended Horlick High School together.
“They were like a family up there at UWM,” Mosley said. “That’s one of the things that stuck out to me.”
“If he wasn’t studying or doing homework, he was hanging out with friends or family.”
Bohanon was found dead in his apartment Sunday of a heart attack, likely stemming from an unknown heart condition that had never been spotted, according to his great-aunt Bonnie Oliver.
As his friends at UWM described his character at the vigil and how he convinced some of them to stay in school, Oliver said she was surprised that she was still learning about Bohanon and how wise he was, even though he had even called her “mom.”
“(For) a 24-year-old, he had, to me, the mind of a 40-year-old,” Oliver said. “You’ve never seen so many boys crying like they were (at the vigil).”
She explained that he was living in Milwaukee while he studied at UWM. He was less than a month away from graduating with a bachelor of science degree in business management, planning for a career as a sports agent.
Mosley said that Bohanon planned to move to Atlanta after graduation, where he already had a job waiting for him.
Although they knew each other for most of their lives, Mosley said he and Bohanon grew as close as brothers while they both attended Horlick High School.
While Mosley was a freshman and Bohanon was a junior, they quickly bonded while playing basketball together and having friendly disagreements over whether LeBron James or Kobe Bryant was the better professional basketball player.
Even when Bohanon went to college, Mosley said Bohanon came back to Racine at least every other weekend, and they rarely let more than two days pass without speaking to one another.
Mosley added that they could show up at each other’s houses even when the other was not at home and it would be like visiting relatives.
He recalled the first time he visited Bohanon’s house and shyly asked Bohanon to make him a plate of food. Bohanon curtly told Mosley to make his own plate of food, as if to say that it was his house, too, and he could serve himself.
“My family is his family, and his family is my family — it’s always been that way,” Mosley said.
Memorial services for Terry Lee “Gus” Bohanon Jr., will be held at New Omega Baptist Church, 5731 Northwestern Ave., Monday morning. Friends and family can meet with loved ones at 10 a.m. before the “Celebration of Life” begins at 11 a.m. A private interment will be held on a later day.