Colby Streuli

Colby Streuli would want something good to come of the years he struggled against the darkness and confusion that so often tormented him during the last decade of his life, his mother, Kathleen McKeon, said.

He would want them to know they are not alone, that light can come in the dark, that as frustrating as it is to find solutions, it's worth it to keep looking, MeKeon said.

"So many people suffer by themselves," she said. "But it's changing, and it needs to change."

Streuli died before he could fully enjoy finding emotional and mental balance at long last. His lifeless body was found July 13 in a swimming hole on Austin Creek near his Cazadero home. Authorities say it appears he fell while descending a steep embankment to take a dip.

In addition to his battle with mental illness, the 28-year-old suffered a traumatic brain injury in a 2008 vehicle crash and had only recently begun to feel comfortable again.

But family members said he was enthusiastic about life and working his job at McDonald's, about dating, hanging out with friends and reaching out to help others in a way he hadn't been comfortable with before.

He was proud and adoring of his 5-year-old daughter, Mackenzie, who lives in Houston. "She was his world," said her mother, Carrie Keller said.

And he was excited about his recent return to working equestrian hunter/jumper events - difficult, specialized work he thought was only in his past.

"Things were happening for him," McKeon said.

Born in Martinez, Colby McKeon Streuli spent his earliest years in Cazadero at the home of his grandmother, Sandra McKeon. He and his mom, a single mother, lived with her until a few years later, when she married Ted Streuli, then an editor and writer at The Russian River Times.

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