Not goodbye, but thanks

Not goodbye, but thanks

Community mourns the loss of a great friend

Speaking to an estimated 1,200 people who packed the Ventura Theatre Sunday to remember Skate Street co-founder Tim Garrety, his partner Jeff Sponseller noted that Garrety would routinely end phone calls by saying, ‘thanks, instead of Goodbye.

Garrety died April, 20, when his motorcycle collided with an automobile on Telegraph Road in Ventura. He was 33 years old. His wife Miki, 3-year-old son Gavin and parents Lynne and Frank Garrety joined the multitudes who have been touched by Garrety’s brief and powerful life for the two-hour multi-sensory memorial.

The celebration was followed by a processional to the Bridge Community where Garrety was a leader. Several hundred mourners shared food and stories amid Garrety’s motorcycle, notebooks, welding gear, surfboards, skateboards, portable DVD player, well-worn hoodie and other items on exhibit there.

An entrepreneur to the bone, his ventures included South Jetty, Nails clothing line, Epic Ministries, Foreword Media graphic design and film production, Skate Street Skate Park and the Loft as well as myriad film scripts and writing projects.

There was nothing, it seemed, Garrety couldn’t do and do well. His prolific creative output was almost superhuman, yet by all accounts it was the capacity of his heart, not his accomplishments, that he’ll be remembered for. Beyond the proficiency of his doing was the authenticity of his being which affected everyone who entered his orbit. From the barrista at his favorite Starbuck’s to his employees, friends and family, Garrety’s unconditional acceptance of everyone he encountered left an indelible imprint on local culture.

He’d bring strength and leadership to a situation without saying a word, because his presence assured everyone that it was OK, said friend Dave Lippert. But it’s not like he’d lead the way charging, he added. ‘tim allowed people to take those steps on their own and walk forward. Indeed it was that rare synthesis of humility, mercy and aptitude that enabled Garrety to affect so many lives, and no one who knew him, even on a seemingly superficial level, was not affected by him.

Many present for Sunday’s celebration, including Skate Street co-founder Roger Thompson, were struck by the diversity of people in attendance. ‘somehow, Tim managed to be committed to his family, Skate Street, his church, the biking community, the skating community and the surfing community, Thompson said. People were touched by this and how well he lived life.

Bridge Community Pastor Greg Russinger, another close friend of Garrety’s, echoed that sentiment. He finished well with a wife deeply in love with him, and there’s something to be said for that. A testament to the way she and her husband approached life as a couple, Miki Garrety spent much of the post-celebration reception embracing and comforting others. Her compassion for the young woman driving the car that struck her husband is surprising only to those who don’t know her. According to Russinger, the night of the accident she asked that friends join her in prayer for the woman who reportedly was devastated when Garrety died at the scene.

Skate Street Service Manager, Mitch Chandler remembers Garrety’s kindness as a friend and employer. He was always there for anyone who needed him, always doing good things, always helping somebody. He was very unselfish. While rereading his e-mail from Garrety, Chandler noted that he was never without an encouraging word. No matter what it was he’d say, good job on that, or you made the right decision.

Garrety’s desire to build people up was evident in all aspects of his life, but especially where creativity was involved. In fact, friends say, the impetus for many of his pursuits was a yearning to ignite the creative spark he believed everyone possesses. Being a conduit for expression was a vital and intentional facet of his character and played a key role in his leadership of Skate Street and the creative and media teams at the arts-saturated Bridge Community where his absence has left a colossal crater.

Thompson looked back wryly on the dialogue between himself, Garrety and Sponseller that launched the original Skate Street project eight years ago. It was just a dangerous conversation, he mused. And one that would find them pioneering an industry just a year later at the tender age of 25.

Earlier this month the park began a substantial renovation process, but Garrety’s passing has put expansion plans on hold temporarily. What we know at this point, said Thompson, is that something in the spirit of Tim will continue; maybe the skate park exactly as it is, maybe something different.

Unbeknownst to Garrety, words from one of his blog entries about a recent loss would later serve as balm for friends struggling with the loss of him: It’s amazing how when you begin to reflect upon your blessings, your losses become like a vapor, he wrote. While the scent of loss still lingers, our appetite for God’s blessings has become more unquenchable.

Thanks, Tim.

by Michel Cicero

4 entries posted so far; most recent was from Auggie on July 31, 2006 @ 8:45 pm

  1. The pain we fell
    When someone leaves our lifes
    is in direct proportion to
    The joy they bring
    While a part of or

    Love N Respect..


    Auggie — July 31, 2006 @ 8:45 pm

  2. great article michel about a great, great man. My prayers join with many for his family.

    pete greig — May 24, 2005 @ 7:00 am

  3. “Good Job” Michel! “Thanks” pk

    pk — April 28, 2005 @ 6:24 pm

  4. Michel, Tim would be proud that you wrote this piece. He did honor your writing a lot.

    Dan — April 28, 2005 @ 3:23 pm