Full military honors, family and dozens of friends gathered in Woodlawn Cemetery
By Andrew Harris
The sun was shining on a perfect spring day, American Legion Honor Guard members stood motionless as the family of David Garwood gathered around his gravesite. The U.S Army vet passed away earlier this year after a long decline in health.
Dave’s brothers Gerry and Kevin, with families, traveled from California to say goodbye. Lon, Dave’s little brother, traveled from South Korea where he has lived for decades. Nephews, nieces, cousins, and friends stood behind the family as Reverend Dennis Munro led a Christian burial ceremony. The crowd of mourners were dozens of friends, from childhood, from high school, and from the atypical life David lived in Wellsville. Some of the crowd were other military veterans who may not have known David personally, but were compelled to attend and pay respects to a fellow warrior.
The Reverend choose great selections from the Bible that were relevant to the life being honored and then introduced each brother for a short talk. The oldest boy, Gerry spoke about his and Dave’s acceptance of Jesus Christ and about the last time they met. Gerry told the crowd that the two brothers had a great moment of just silently looking at each other and exchanging a powerful speechless moment before, unknowingly, parting ways forever.
Brother Kevin, spoke next and gave those in attendance a glimpse of Dave from his sibling closest in age. Kevin and his wife traveled from California and brought the Golden State vibe with them. Kevin talked about how much the support for Dave was appreciated by the Garwood family. Kevin, also a drummer like Dave, shared an intense love of music and that special bond was clear in his portion of the eulogy.
Lon Garwood, Dave’s youngest brother, spoke last on behalf of the family after flying into Wellsville from South Korea. A international businessman, Lon kept in close contact with Dave and came back to Wellsville often, even after their parents had passed away. His comments echoed much of what his older brothers had to say, adding that Dave really considered Wellsville his home, his people. Lon invited all in attendance to a gathering at the Microtel Inn conference room for refreshments and “Dave stories.”
The American Legion performed a twenty one gun salute reminding all who stood graveside that war was a major part of David’s legacy. Two members of the US Army emerged from the background to conduct the flag folding ceremony and present the flag to the Garwood family on behalf of the federal government.
Knowing Dave pretty well, he would have been in awe at the entire ceremony. He would have truly appreciated all who took the time to see him off, his brothers especially.
The crowd disbursed and some gathered at the Microtel for refreshments after. The real grand finale of David H. Garwood appeared just a few hours after he was buried. Fellow veteran Melanie Hunt was on the Genesee River to capture this epic ending to a day of celebrating the life of Dave.