Leslie Deese Garvis was only six months old when her father, Danny Deese, charter coordinator for Southern Airways Flight 932, perished among the 75 Thundering Herd teammates, coaches, staff, supporters and flight crew on Nov. 14, 1970. At noon this Wednesday, Nov. 14, Garvis will take the stage as keynote speaker for the 48th Memorial Fountain Ceremony on Marshall’s Huntington campus.
Garvis said she has dedicated her life to making sure memories of the 75 live on.
“It is my life’s mission to make sure they are never forgotten,” said Garvis. “I am honored to have this opportunity to share the story of my father and the five people, who, although not from Huntington or Marshall, are now and forever part of the Marshall family.”
Garvis is also the founder of the Southern Flight 932 Memorial 75 Facebook page, which gives others a space to talk about the people who were lost in the crash.
“I love hearing how people know them, hearing their personal memories of them,” said Garvis. “That is how we make sure they are never forgotten.”
Garvis was born in South Carolina and grew up near Orlando, Florida, not far from where her parents spent their honeymoon. She inherited her father’s love of aviation and met her husband, Rick, while working at Orlando International Airport. The couple currently resides in Fort Worth, Texas, where Garvis works as a regulatory and government affairs manager for an independent oil company.
Garvis said she has always felt a connection to the town and the university, even before attending her first Memorial Fountain Ceremony in 2014. As part of the airline crew’s family, she said she wasn’t sure how she would be received, but soon learned what it means to be part of the Marshall family.
“For those of us who lost family, this ceremony is a source of strength that helps us get through the anniversary every year,” said Garvis. “To be able to talk about my father and the Southern family, is an honor of a lifetime and a responsibility I take very seriously.”
To watch the Memorial Fountain Ceremony via livestream, visit www.marshall.edu/it/livestream.