Ian James Jones, a 12-year-old Westchester resident and Westside Neighborhood School student who had a fascination with science, has died.

He was on a trip with his grandfather in Mendocino County in Northern California when he apparently drowned while swimming in the Eel River Monday, June 26th, his family said.

A memorial service for him was held Friday, July 7th, at the Playa Vista community center.

Ian had recently completed the sixth grade at the Westside Neighborhood School in Del Rey.

He lived life “with zest and exuberance, inspiring peers and elders alike,” his family said.

“He was a great kid,” said his father, Brian Jones. “He was interested in science and his big thing was the science fair.”

Earlier this year, Ian won first place in his division at the Westside Neighborhood School Science Fair for his solar-powered water distilling project titled “Got Sun?”

He presented the project at the Los Angeles County Science Fair and was also interviewed about his creation on KCET, his father said.

While Ian was “very pleased” about his first-place project, he was already preparing for next year’s science competition with a project involving metal forging.

Another of Ian’s loves was reading, especially science fiction and non-fiction books, his father said.

“He was an avid reader,” Brian Jones said. “He just read everything.”

Ian was dedicated to his schoolwork and dreamt about attending the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), but was also a sports and nature enthusiast.

Among his favorite sports he participated in were basketball, soccer, volleyball, wrestling and track. As a member of the Westside Neighborhood School track team, he set the school’s second-place record for the mile.

His American Youth Soccer Organization team won the local regional championship and he also served as a youth soccer referee.

Ian was someone who influenced other people to work harder and he brought joy to the lives of everyone he met, Brian Jones said.

The Jones family plans to help raise money for the gymnasium at the Westside Neighborhood School.

Ian is survived by many friends and relatives, including his parents, Brian and Ellen, his sister, Gwendolyn, and brother Trevor.