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NAPLES, Italy — There were two sides to Petty Officer 2nd Class Mike Mefford: soft and softer.

“He had a great love for the helpless and the elderly,” said his older brother, Air Force Tech. Sgt. Mark Castorena, stationed at Fairchild Air Force Base in Washington. “He loved his family and was a caring, loving son and brother. He was very adventurous and loved life and was quite the practical jokester!”

Mefford, 32, a radiologist stationed at the Navy hospital at Gricignano, was killed Friday when his motorcycle collided with a vehicle on Italian highway SS 7 in Naples. He had been wearing a helmet, officials said.

A memorial service will be held at 4 p.m. Thursday at the chapel on Gricignano.

Mefford was an experienced motorcycle rider who loved adventure, from scuba diving to riding his bike, Castorena said. “He was the youngest of three of us brothers. So as you may imagine, he had to pull his weight being the youngest.”

Mefford joined the Navy right out of high school, in keeping with the career paths of his older brothers. Each, however, picked a different branch of the service. His other brother, Richard Mefford, who joined the Marine Corps, died 16 years ago.

Mike Mefford had been married for three years and divorced in January.

“Although divorced, he still had a place in his heart for his former wife, Karissa. They remained close friends throughout his tour in Iraq and Italy,” Castorena said.

Mefford is survived by his mother, Mona Mefford, his Father, Gordon Mefford, his stepmother Vicky Mefford, brother, Mark, and a nephew, Dominic Castorena.

Stateside funeral arrangements have not been finalized. Mefford is going to be buried in San Antonio.

“He may be gone, but he left us a legacy of pride, courage and love for our country, the United States of America,” Castorena said.

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