LANCASTER – More than 300 friends, family members and coworkers came out Saturday to say their final goodbyes to Beau Josh Owen Fluker and Jeffrey Gilstrap, the two Walmart employees who lost their lives in a car crash on Feb. 26.
The joint memorial service was held at Grace Chapel in Lancaster.
“We’re not mourning their deaths, we’re celebrating their lives,” Pastor Mark Schweitzer told the crowd. “Because these guys lived wonderful lives.”
The celebration began around 10 a.m. and lasted till around 12:30 p.m. During that time, attendees heard from the people who knew Beau and Jeff best.
Beau was a kind, gentle, soul who would go out of his way to help anyone and had no enemies, said his best friend of many years, Nicholas Gallagher.
“He was willing to help anyone, it didn’t matter who they were or the color of their skin,” Gallagher said. Gallagher recalled a time riding in Beau’s car when a homeless man tapped on the window and asked for a lift to the shelter up the street. He said Beau told the man to jump in the back seat.
“That was just the type of person he was, he would help anybody,” Gallagher said, adding that he would miss the many conversations the two had about life. Gallagher implored audience members to cherish their loved ones as if there was no tomorrow.
“You should reach out to the people in your life and tell them you love them because they won’t be here forever…” Gallagher said. “One more moment with Beau would have never been enough.”
Jeff was a loyal and generous man who made many sacrifices for the people he loved and asked for nothing in return, said his best friend of many years Nicolas Nahin. He said Jeff took him in when he was homeless and never asked him for a penny in rent.
Nahin also said Jeff had a healthy sense of humor and was known for good-naturedly teasing his friends to see how far he could take it. Audience members chuckled as Nahin recalled how Jeff got his job in Walmart’s photo department, after months of job hunting.
“He said ‘I told them I knew about photo,’ and I said ‘But you don’t know about photo!’” Nahin recalled. He said Jeff spent half the night on Wikipedia researching photo before his first day of work. Then he came home from work the next day and said ‘I fooled them!’
Beau’s younger brother, Victor, was visibly emotional as he spoke of how much Beau meant to him.
“I looked up to him, he made me the person that I am today,” Victor said. “Everyone said it was God’s choosing, but I don’t believe it was him and Jeffrey’s time to go… I miss him so much…”
Jeff’s younger brother Stephen also spoke of his loss.
“I don’t want to sound selfish,” Stephen said. “But I would hug him as hard as I can if I could just see him one more time…”
The memorial service also featured photo slide shows that took audience members on a journey through the men’s lives – from childhood to adulthood.
As the service came to a close, members of the audience were invited to share stories about Beau and Jeff at one of two microphones in the front of the room. Dozens of audience members waited their turn to share how Jeff or Beau had touched their lives in some way.
“He was happy, he lived happy, and he will forever be happy,” said Jason of his friend Beau.
“Jeff is a selfless guy and I will never forget him for the rest of my life,” said Myron Castro.
“They touched so many people’s lives in a positive way, and they will continue to touch lives,” said Clarence Winn, who managed both men at the Walmart on Valley Central Way. “God did not take them from us; he gave them to us for a short time… these two young men were definitely a blessing to us all.”
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