Paul Frederick Hughes, a local artist, took it upon himself to pay tribute to a friend who inspired so many people to live a life of adventure.
Sean "Ace" O'Connor's mom, Terry K. O'Connor, said despite her son's sudden death, his spirit lives on. She said family and friends needed a place to go to honor his legacy and a cemetery just wouldn't do it. But they never imagined this.
Back in a hidden ally is a mural of a man, whose smile and whose impact were truly "larger than life."
"He always had that smile," said Kelly O'Connor, Ace's sister.
His mother said his motto was simple: "One day or someday are not days," she said. "Do it now. Do it today, with passion and purpose, because tomorrow is promised to no one."
Unfortunately everything about Ace's motto is true. He and his girlfriend, Caro, often hit the road in an RV documenting their adventures on YouTube. They knew they had to witness the total solar eclipse.
"He didn't just talk about living life to the fullest. he did it. That's the difference," his sister told us.
North Carolina State Highway patrol said O'Connor died when a driver hit his scooter from behind. Caro was and is still seriously injured. It was a vibrant life cut short and his mom couldn't be prouder.
"So many people have told me since his passing... 'Sean inspired me. Sean made me who I am today. Sean pushed me out of my comfort level," said Terry O'Connor.
And now there sits a spot in the Boynton Beach Arts district where this proud mother and sister stand. It was a surprise that came to fruition just a few weeks ago from one of Ace's friends, an artist. They said Hughes captured exactly how they remember him.
"Larger than life. Yep. Oh my Ace," his mother exclaimed.
Ace's family plans to hold a paddle out when his girlfriend feels up to it, and when they feel ready as well. They'll spread his ashes in the ocean. It's a place the avid surfer and paddleboarder loved most of all.
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