February 15, 2010
Garrett “Dutch” Easton Fund Honors Memory of Local Resident
He was young and handsome, articulate and engaging, and incredibly talented; just some of the adjectives family members used to describe Garrett “Dutch” Easton. He could be the class clown or a challenge to his teachers depending on one’s perspective. With a great sense of humor, a flamboyant edge and a passion for the arts, he had unlimited potential. Then, in 2004, at the age of 24, a routine medical procedure changed everything. Garrett “Dutch” Easton died suddenly from complications of a bacterial infection.
Looking at photographs it is hard to tell “Dutch” and his brother Brent apart. You see two tow- headed brothers, two years apart in age, playing, clowning around and often surrounded by a posse of friends. Six years have passed since Dutch’s death and his family and friends are still feeling the void.
Born February 18, 1980 in Alexandria, VA, “Dutch” grew up in Northern Virginia, graduated from Osbourn Park High School in Manassas and attended the Maryland Institute College of Art for several semesters to pursue his love of graphic arts before moving to Elkins to attend Davis & Elkins College. According to Brent, “He could look at most anything and turn it into a creative project. He was an innovator with pen and pencil, sculpture, and graphic arts, but also an ornate character that really fit no particular mold.”
After leaving Davis & Elkins, Dutch spent a few years working at the ski areas in Canaan Valley where he was living prior to his death and where his brother Brent and wife Meghan have lived for many years. While planning their wedding last fall, Brent and Meghan decided to forego the traditional wedding favors. Instead they decided to ask guests to consider making a donation to the Tucker Community Foundation; at that point the idea for the Garrett “Dutch” Easton Fund was born.
Brent and Meghan decided to use the Run For It event as a way to raise awareness and funds. Run For It is 2k walk and 5k walk and competitive run designed to help raise money for community organizations, projects, charities, and existing TCF Endowed Funds. Meghan registered as Team Captain for the Fresh Canvas team and they were off and running. At the conclusion of the race, the team had raised close to $5,000; more than enough to initiate the fund. Since the start of the race three years ago, Team Fresh Canvas has been the first team to walk and run for the specific purpose of starting an Endowed Fund. Their efforts exceeded expectations and they plan to be back in action this fall for the Foundation’s race scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 25.
Approved by the TCF Board of Directors at the January 27 meeting, the Easton Fund is now accepting donations from the general public. The fund has up to 5 years to reach the minimum amount required for establishing an Endowed Fund. Once established, the Easton Fund will begin awarding annual grants based on a competitive application process. The Garrett Dutch Easton Fund is designed to promote creative arts in Tucker County schools with preference given to projects that reflect a creative process.
In addition to his brother Brent and wife Meghan, Dutch is survived by his parents John and Glenda Easton and daughter Hannah who resides in Elkins with her mother and stepfather Brandi and Chad Chidester. “When Hannah was born, you could see a change in Dutch. Whatever he was searching for as he transferred from school to school, the birth of his daughter seemed to provide a focus and purpose that grounded him in a way I’d never seen”, Brent exclaimed. He went on to describe his niece in much the same way he describes his brother, “articulate, bright, fun loving, and very social.”
Anyone wishing to make a donation to the Garrett Dutch Easton Fund can do so by sending a check made out to TCF – Easton Fund. Mail it to TCF, PO Box 491, Parsons, WV 26287. Donations to this, or any fund of the Foundation, are tax deductible.
Tucker Community Foundation serves communities located in Barbour, Grant, Preston, Pocahontas, Randolph and Tucker Counties. For more information about the Garrett Dutch Easton Fund or any endowed fund, please call the office at 304-478-2930 or visit www.tuckerfoundation.net. The Foundation office is located on the second floor of the Tucker County Board of Education Annex located in Parsons.