Coolidge Elementary classmates, some who hadn't seen each other in nearly five decades, exchanged hugs and tears outside the school Friday. They were there to remember a sixth grade fellow student who died on the school's playground on April 18, 1969.
Gary Marsh, 12, had been running with friends, when he was killed by a fatal heart condition called Cardiomyapathy.
Marsh's old classmates planted a redbud tree in Gary's honor on the school's south side. They also planted a blue cypress next to it, to honor all of their other classmates who have passed away during the past 45 years.
Linda Matlock grew up in a house next to the school. She is now a retired teacher from Heritage Hall. Back in 1969, she was in Gary Marsh's class. “We're doing it for Gary. We're doing for the others who have passed, and we're doing it for us,” she said.
Becky Marsh was born two years after her older brother Gary died. She was at the ceremony with Gary's father Cecil and stepmother Donna. “It's very much a healing process,” she said. “And for them to remember him brings it full circle.”