This is a tough one. The shocking news of Todd Garvin’s death took my breath away. It was like a punch in the gut.
I saw it on a Facebook post. I reread the post hoping I had read it wrong. I hadn’t. Then I went over to Todd’s page and saw many more posts confirming it. My heart sunk. It was true. And it was so heartbreaking.
Todd (we called him Fish) was one of many who I was able to teach and impact through the sports department at The Independent over the years. He was fun-loving and quite the character and that was putting it mildly. When it was time to work, he worked. When it was time to play, anything might happen.
He broke into journalism roaring like a lion. That was fitting because the big guy also liked the theater. And there has never been a better Cowardly Lion than Todd Garvin’s portrayal on the Ashland stage. Ask anybody who saw him. He was perfect.
Todd could light up a room and he was strong as an ox. He was also an outstanding coach for the Ashland Junior Football League. He was a Boyd County alum and played football for the Lions on some good teams in the mid-1980s, but he sure helped prepare and propel some great Tomcats through the JFL experience.
My son was JFL age during the time Todd was coaching and he wanted so badly for him to play. He watched Stephen pitch in Little League and thought he had some quarterback potential. Stephen never budged. Football wasn’t for him. So to make sure I came to his games, he got my daughter Sally on the Panthers’ cheerleading squad.
I watched him during the JFL games and he was intense but he loved on those players like they were his own. That was him. He had a heart bigger than all outdoors, He had a love and zeal for life like few others I’ve ever been around.
He worked hard for me as a sportswriter and opportunities came for him because of it, eventually leading him to a position in Myrtle Beach, which was one of his life goals. I was so happy for him and so proud of him. He was living at the beach up until his death this morning. His “Coffee with Todd” posts were legendary for his friends on Facebook. Just more fun from the man who brought so much to life until his big kind heart simply wore out. What a sad, sad day.
I’m so sad for the Garvin family, too. His sisters adored him. Everybody did. How could you not like him? He was able to watch his nephew, Jonny Stevens, play baseball for Boyd County only 10 days ago. Jonny had no bigger fan than his uncle.
Giovanni’s Pizza would always do a little more business when Todd came to town. It was his favorite place to eat without question.
I know this much: He would have done anything for me. He was that kind of friend. We kept in touch via Facebook and as recently as Tuesday he commented on a post. Todd Garvin was one of my boys and I’ll cherish the memories I made with him. It’s hard. RIP my dear friend. You were a one-of-a-kind superstar.