Family, friends say farewell to 7-year-old Tripp Johnson, who was killed in Harford County crash

St. Francis de Sales Church in Abingdon was full with mourners Tuesday morning to say farewell to 7-year-old Tripp Johnson, more than two weeks after he was killed in a 12-car crash on Route 24 in Bel Air.

After a nearly two-hour funeral Mass during which Tripp was remembered for his hugs, his smile and his desire to help anyone, he was buried in Oak Lawn Cemetery in Baltimore with his grandfather, who his family said was his best friend before he died a few years ago.


Family, friends and many faculty and staff from William Paca/Old Post Road Elementary, where Tripp was in second grade, said their goodbyes.

Harford County residents showed their support in tens of thousands of ways for the family of Tripp Johnson, the 7-year-old killed last week in a fiery crash on Route 24 in Bel Air.

Tripp’s mother, Megan Fulleylove, attended the funeral service. She has been hospitalized since the crash and the family had waited to hold Tripp’s funeral until she could attend. While Fulleylove walked briefly to see her son one last time before the casket was closed, she remained in a wheelchair. Tripp’s father, Travis Johnson, sat surrounded by his family.


When an older person dies, people feel robbed of the past, said Father Jack Ward, pastor of St. Frances de Sales and Prince of Peace Catholic Church in Edgewood, where Tripp was preparing to make his first communion.

“When a younger person dies, especially a child, we feel robbed of the future,” Ward said. “No doubt that’s what the families feel this morning, especially Megan and Travis, as we say goodbye to this little boy.”

Because Tripp was so young, his family can be assured that Tripp never committed a sin and that his soul and spirit are eternally with God, he said.

While that may not bring consolation, Ward said, it may bring peace, knowing that Tripp is eternally happy, that his parents have a special angel looking after them who will always be part of their lives.

‘Center of our worlds’

Tripp was the greatest gift their family ever had, Tripp’s aunt, Heather Johnson, said during the funeral.

When Tripp was born, “he quickly became the center of all of our worlds,” she said. The family crowded into a small hospital room to welcome the “wonderful blessing.”

“Eight years later, we ended up back in the hospital, crammed into a small room, the same beautiful boy, the same light of our lives,” Johnson said. “Sadly this time, we were all sobbing tears of unimaginable, undeserving and inconsolable sorrow. In just an instant our perfect family wasn’t perfect anymore.”

Johnson said Tripp loved to love and he saw the best in everyone.

“But the one thing I’m going to miss the most are his famous Tripp hugs,” his aunt said. “This boy loved to love and this boy loved to show his affection toward people. He loved hard and he hugged hard.”

Old Post Road Family

Tripp’s school family has plenty of stories about Tripp they will carry with them.

“Tripp was and still is the light, the light that will get us through the darkness, the light to give us complete peace,” Principal Tammy Bosley said at the funeral. “He lived the lessons many of us have yet to learn — to love unconditionally, to help, to build up everyone around him and see others for the good that resides inside, refraining from judgment for the bad.”

Bosley collected stories about Tripp from the faculty and staff at William Paca/Old Post Road, where Tripp, by the time he reached second grade, was known as the Mayor of OPR.

Tripp Johnson, the 7-year-old who died in a crash on Route 24 earlier this month, was a beautiful spirit who lit up any room or any space he walked in, his teacher said.

His grandmother, Debbie Johnson, is a para-educator at the school and because she brought him to school, he was always in the building long before other students and he got to know everyone there well.

This year, as a second-grader and a senior student on the Old Post Road building, Tripp took on a new role — as big brother to a pre-K class.

Without coaching, every morning Tripp would greet each child with a smile at the door, serve breakfast, open drinks.

“He would wipe their tears, help them unpack, clean up spills and most of all, serve as the best role model for our little Penguins,” Bosley said.

And when it was time for him to go to class, he said goodbye to each one.

Tripp knew how to make the world around him a better place, Bosley said.

“Although Tripp has left this world, a part of him will always reside in us,” she said, “the part of him that causes us to strive to treat people with love, dignity, kindness and grace.”

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