The funeral for Joey Lutz, the teacher at Santa Monica High who drowned in Panama last week, will be Sunday next to his hometown of Culver City.
His remains arrived at Los Angeles International Airport early Saturday morning, accompanied by his father and brother.
Lutz, 25, was touring in Boca del Toro on Panama’s Mosquito Coast when he was swept away by waves and riptide while standing in shallow waters at noon, local time, on July 17.
Lutz’ friends saw him struggling but couldn’t get to him before he was swept out to sea. He was seen struggling by his travel companions, who could not aid him as he was swept out to sea. They reported getting little cooperation from the local police in trying to mount a rescue.
His father Stuart Lutz, and brother Mickey, flew to Boca del Toro to join in the search. Moveable Minyan, a Jewish congregation where Joey Lutz was a member, enlisted a Santa Barbara-based business, Panama Surf, to aid in the search.
Joey’s body was found July 19 washed up on Playa Wizard beach by a local fisherman not far from where he was swept away three days before. The police took his father Stuart to the site by boat to identify the body.
The body will be placed in the care of Hillside Memorial Park and Mortuary where a memorial service and Jewish burial are scheduled for Sunday, July 27, at 1 p.m.
Several hundred people were expected to attend the memorial and funeral as well as the traditional Jewish shiva mourning period, which will be at the family home in Culver City following the funeral.
Joey Lutz taught English at Santa Monica High School for the past three years. He was a respected participant in NewGround, a joint Muslim-Jewish dialogue co-founded by the Muslim Public Affairs Council and the Progressive Jewish Alliance. NewGround held a candelight vigil in his honor on Monday evening at Dockweiler State Beach in Playa del Rey.
His family said funeral services will be at 1 p.m. Sunday at Hillside Memorial Park, 6001 Centinela Ave., Los Angeles