02 March, 2016

He Was 'Told' To Read The Obituaries And Discovered Happy Memories

US Coast Guard Boat
US Coast Guard
Santa Rosa Beach: Philip Obenauer does not read the obituaries. He thinks they're morbid.

One morning, however, a voice, a feeling, something told him to read the obituaries. Almost reluctantly, he picked up the paper and saw a name he recognised: Garvis Fincher.

The two men had been stationed in the U.S Coast Guard together more than 40 years ago at a small station on Long Island. They met girls together, fished, boated and played softball.

Though he doubted it could be the same man he'd known, he also had never heard of anyone else called Garvis. Taking a chance, Obenauer called a number he found in DeFuniak Springs and left a message,

It was a message that would make Charlotte Fincher's grief at losing her husband a little lighter,

She called back and the two spoke for a long time.

"It was very uplifting," she said, "See my husband had told me about this guy, but he never mentioned his name. He just said he was a good friend in the Coast Guard,"

"When he called, it was just a strange experience," She added, "It was almost a way of Garvis being in touch with me."

After they chatted, Obenauer offered to send her a photo he'd found of himself and Garvis.

The house she and Garvis had previously built in DeFuniak Springs was hit by lightning and burned, destroying all of his pictures.

Charlotte was surprised by how close the two had lived to each other without ever knowing.

Obenauer was glad he got a chance to say goodbye to the friend with whom he shared so many good times. He believes it was more than a coincidence that he read the obituaries that day. 

He recalled, "Before Charlotte called back, it was a beautiful sunset that night, an orange and blue sky, and I said, 'Garvis, I don't know how you did it, but your reached me after all these years!'"

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