One of the last things 11-year-old Jaycoby Estrada did was hold the door open for a gentleman and wish him a nice day.

That was just the kind of boy he was, said his parents, Melissa Estrada and John Retelsdorf II.

Thoughtful, curious, outgoing.

Jaycoby had bicycled to his neighborhood gas station in Blair for snacks Friday morning. As he was leaving the store, he held the door for another customer.

How’s your day going? he inquired. Have a nice day!

And with that, he hopped on his bike to return home and get ready for school.

That’s typical of the stories that Estrada and Retelsdorf have been hearing since Jaycoby was struck and killed by a semitrailer truck while biking back home.

“You know your kids, but when other people tell you how amazing your kid is, it means that much more,” Melissa Estrada said. “We knew he was amazing, but we didn’t know how amazing.”

Jaycoby, a sixth-grader at Otte Blair Middle School, loved Scouting, befriending others, chatting up people and figuring out how things work. In school he was involved in band, choir and Student Senate.

“He liked to laugh. He could talk your ear off,” his mother said. “He didn’t just meet people, he attached himself to people ... everyone was his best friend.”

In grade school, Jaycoby was selected by his teachers for a program to help autistic classmates, an indication of his sense of empathy.

He was a middle child and is survived by siblings Seth, Alycia, Abbigale, Zane and Malcolm. His grandparents are John and Paula Retelsdorf of Omaha, Kim Cartwright of Oklahoma, Anthony and Vicki Estrada of California and Alan Pittaway of Ohio.

Jaycoby had a knack for taking things apart and reassembling them. He was active in Destination Imagination, a competitive program for students interested in science, technology, engineering and math.

Scouting was where Jaycoby found his home, his mother said, and the church that houses his Scout Troop 558 — Holy Cross Lutheran Church in Omaha — is where his funeral will be held. The service will be 1 p.m. Friday at the church, 4117 Terrace Drive in northwest Omaha, followed by graveside services at Forest Lawn Cemetery. Visitation will be Thursday, with family receiving friends from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Campbell Aman Funeral Home in Blair.

Jamie Woods Flynn, a family friend and coworker of his mother’s, described Jaycoby as “the most happy, helpful kid.”

“If there was ever a new kid, or a new teacher, he would go out of his way to help them,” Woods Flynn said.

His father and mother said the support from people in Blair has been a comfort.

“This community has just been incredible,” John Retelsdorf said. “We have had so many people who we have never met — that he had maybe stopped and said hi to, or played with, petted their dog — come by and offer their sympathy.”

Police are asking anyone with information about the crash to contact the police department at 402-426-6866.

A GoFundMe page has been created to assist the family with funeral expenses. Donations can be made at

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Nancy Gaarder helps cover public safety and weather events as an editor on The World-Herald's breaking news desk. Follow her on Twitter @gaarder. Phone: 402-444-1102.

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