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The Blue & Gray Press | May 24, 2017

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UMW alums, community mourn David Justis

UMW alums, community mourn David Justis

By EMILY HOLLINGSWORTH & MIKEY BARNES

University of Mary Washington alum David Edwin Justis died on Aug. 4 from a vehicle accident on River Road in Spotsylvania.

The accident took place on the intersection of Motts Run road, where
Justis’ truck hit a tree on the right side of the road. The truck
overturned and was struck by an oncoming vehicle.

Justis graduated from UMW in May 2015 with a degree in computer
science. His funeral took place on Aug. 9 at Covenant Funeral Home in
Fredericksburg.

Justis was a member of UMW’s cross country and track and field teams.

Not only did his death impact the UMW cross country team, it also
impacted the surrounding community.

Ebony Dixon, who also graduated in spring 2015, saw Justis on campus,
but never spoke to him in person.

“I am saddened by the death of another Eagle,” Dixon said, and hopes
that Justis’ family and friends will experience comfort as they
grapple with his death.

“I send [my] condolences to his family, his friends and anyone who may
have been affected by his untimely death.”

According to President Hurley, Justis’ life and death affected the
community within and outside of UMW.

“His passing is a tragic loss for his family, friends and our entire
campus community,” Hurley said.

While Hurley did not know Justis personally, he said that he heard
from others about Justis’ energy and engagement with the people around
him.

“From what I have learned about him, his presence would light up a
room,” Hurley said.

Julian Menk, a recent alum and former teammate of Justis, knew the
extent of Justis’ presence, his determination and kindness as a UMW
student and athlete, firsthand.

According to Menk, Justis was a mentor to him, inviting Menk to run
with him when they practiced for the cross country team. Menk said he
and other members of the team were inspired by his ability as a cross
country runner and as a leader.

“ I looked up to him because he had incredible talent in running. I
know that the rest of the team shared similar feelings about him:
tremendous talent and a caring guy,” Menk said.

Menk said he and the team considered Justis like family and were
equally affected at his death. A Facebook event was organized on Aug.
15 for Justis’ friends and family. The event was called “In Memoriam
Run: for David Justis.” Friends and family of Justis could run, walk
or bike for three miles. Afterwards, they could post a selfie and
reflect on what they remember about Justis.

Menk and the fellow current and former UMW runners were able to honor Justis.

“When I heard the news of his tragedy, I was deeply saddened,” Menk
said. “Losing a teammate is something that no fellow Eagle can ever
imagine.”

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