Remembering Garry Eadon

by | April 29, 2016 9:21 pm

“Separation is the great human tragedy. Separation from God’s physical form, separation from people we love, separation from health when we’re sick. Heaven is going to be a beautiful place.”

Garry Eadon died Friday – if you’re stateside – from complications caused by an exotic disease contracted on a recent aid trip to Fiji. These were words he said to me the last time I saw him and said goodbye to him in person.

Garry and Ruth came to Manning in 1997. I distinctly remember their first Sunday at our church, where Garry had come to serve as youth pastor. I, along with many others, amassed countless hilarious stories since the day Garry and Ruth walked in. I could share them, but unfortunately, there just isn’t enough space to contain them all (but I wish you could have been there the day he got kicked out of the waterpark on John’s Island for going down the slide on his stomach while giggling like a child).

Among the many things that I adored about Garry Eadon, his heart for evangelism was something that came to mean the most to me as I grew up. His spirit of fun and his sense of humor, which I always loved and appreciated, became integral components of his work in sharing Jesus with others. This man was so unassuming, so easy to talk to, and so fun to be around, that naturally steering the conversation to faith was as easy as breathing.

This idea of separation, which he spoke of to me once, plays a big part in his desire to share the Gospel of Christ. He was right; separation is the great human tragedy. This is so because we are born into a state of separation. Our humanity separates us from a God who is holy, and without Him and His incomparable grace, we are without hope. Garry, who understood the urgency of closing the separation between man and God, devoted his life to this act. This is why his heart yearned to tell people of the Father’s great love for us. In this very moment, so many others and I are experiencing separation from a man we loved, and it is excruciating. The pain is almost tangible as I write these words and think on a life that I cherished. But really, this separation is nothing compared to the prospect of eternal separation from Holy God.

This is where Garry’s heart has always been. This is where it was when he served at Manning United Methodist Church. This is where it was when he served at the Clarendon Christian Learning Center. This is where it was when he served at the Macedon Grammar School in Victoria, Australia. This is where it was when he took his trip to Fiji weeks ago.

That will be the legacy I carry in my heart of this man whom I loved. I will remember him as a devoted family man, an energetic flash of light, a tremendous teacher of the Word, and a leader, mentor and friend who cared about my life. But above all, I’ll remember him as an obedient servant of the Creator. I’ll think of him when I see someone who doesn’t know what it means to have intimate knowledge of Mighty Jesus. I’ll think of him when I see someone sitting alone in a pew at church, not sure if he belongs and not sure if he even believes the stuff in the first place. I’ll think of him when I feel the familiar tug on my heart that someone close to me needs to understand the character of Christ. I’ll think of him when I get a Violet Crumble at World Market. I’ll think of him when I see a youth group in a church van. I’ll think of him when I see someone wearing sunglasses atop his head. I’ll think of him most of all when I consider the heart of Jesus because Garry’s was so similar to his.

A Manning native, Brittany Odom is a teacher at Ben Lippen Academy.

comments » 12

  1. Comment by Kim belangia

    April 29, 2016 at 22:27

    Garry Eadon was a wonderful man. My daughter said he was such an influential part of her life. My heart hurts for his family and everyone that loved him.

  2. Comment by Sharon Thames-Simms

    April 29, 2016 at 22:30

    Garry, was truly a good man. I’ll always remember the visits to our store just to share a word with us. Praying for Ruth and the children.

  3. Comment by Jane Benton

    April 29, 2016 at 22:39

    Garry and Ruth were wonderful servants of Christ and were so loved by the church and community. Garry was electric with our youth and shared his witness at every opportunity. He visited my classroom and accompanied my classes on field trip. Jr High students loved the Aussie guy and were excited to see him around town. God led him to Manning United Methodist to share his faith with our members. We send our love and prayers to Ruth and their children.

  4. Comment by Robbie Briggs

    April 30, 2016 at 00:27

    Gary was first class!

  5. Comment by Thomasyne Martin

    April 30, 2016 at 10:55

    I did not know Gary personally but in reading Brittany’s column I feel I would have liked to know him! I’m sure those who knew him will remember him with the love of God in their hearts that he shared with them.

    My deepest sympathy to his family and friends who loved him. God’s peace to you all!

  6. Comment by Annie Claxton

    May 1, 2016 at 04:16

    Mr Eadon, we will all miss your amazing lessons and your amazing personality. I know we are all glad you were a man of God.
    We are all praying for the Eadon family and will miss Mr Eadon.

  7. Comment by Norma Spanler

    May 1, 2016 at 15:45

    Gary Eadon was a very compassionate and caring individual. I met him and his wife when they first came to Manning. I was working at Century 21 and rented them a Condo until they could find a home. He was truly a great and genuine youth leader! Everyone loved him! They were a very kind and loving family! He left his mark on Manning, SC. He will truly be missed! My condolences to his family and friends.

  8. Comment by Bobby Ridgeway

    May 3, 2016 at 15:00

    As so many people in Clarendon County have, Garry and Ruth granted to me the honor of being involved with the delivery of their children while they were here in Manning. Always laughing and having something to say about everything, I remember Garry would have Ruth on the exam table and have the table going up and down before I could get in the room. Ruth would scold him, but that made Garry only continue and laugh that much louder. Although we attended First Baptist, I will always thank Garry for having a heart for my son as he grew. Garry never met a stranger and I look forward to that day in heaven to hear that laugh again. We may not understand things sometimes, but God’s plan is perfect, and this is where faith takes hold of us.

  9. Comment by Kelly Thompson

    May 4, 2016 at 05:46

    Brittany, what a wonderful tribute to Gary. I too did not know Gary or his family as that was the year I left to start my new life with Wes. I knew he was well loved by the many countless comments by the Manning people like you, Brittany. I know how much love and respect you had for Gary, a true servant of God. I am so sorry for your loss and wish I could be there to comfort you in person. My heart hurts for Manning and for Gary’s family. Love you Brittany!

  10. Comment by Glenn Rose

    May 4, 2016 at 06:45

    With permission, I have set up a gofundme campaign for the Eadon Family. The link is as follows.
    https://gofundme.com/22acsbg

  11. Comment by Milton

    May 4, 2016 at 22:04

    Garry our loss is the Lords gain. Don’t give him too much of a hard time. We will miss you dearly brother. Breakfast is on you next time:)

  12. Comment by Michelle Barton

    May 6, 2016 at 00:20

    I just heard about this very sad news and I’m shocked at how affected I am by it but I suppose that despite not playing a large role in each others life I have to say Garry is one person I shall always remember. Garry was my daughters art teacher at Macedon Grammar and my second daughter will certainly have had Garry teach her in one capacity or another also. Upon hearing that I liked to paint he arranged for me to attend my daughters class as a visiting artist and I can honestly say I felt really special that day. I would often run into him in Woodend and without fail he would stop and chat. Such a warm hearted, kind gentle man and so enthusiastic about everyone and everything. Garry’s passing is indeed a great loss and I send my thoughts to his family and all those who loved him.


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