Family holds bonfire to honor man's final wish

Family holds bonfire to honor man's final wish
(Photo Source: WLOX)

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Loved ones gathered around a memorial bonfire in honor of one man's wish to celebrate life, even after death.

Bobby Earhart passed away on January 7, 2018, yet his legacy remains strong through his love for family and community.

In his will, he wrote that he wanted to throw another one of his famous bonfires and bring everyone together.

"This was actually in his will," said his sister, Susie Earhart Towater. "So we invited all the family and friends, there's over 100 people here today."

The event was held at the fire pits on Courthouse Road in Gulfport. Hamburgers, hot dogs, potato salad and the works were served at the celebration, creating the homestyle atmosphere that Bobby loved to create at his semi-annual get togethers.

As people ate and lounged around the fire, the sounds of Jimmy Buffett filled the air. "He was a huge Jimmy Buffett fan," noted Terry Ziegler, a lifelong friend of Earhart. "Bobby and I grew up in the same neighborhood. Our parents were living next to each other before either one of us were born."

The gathering on the beach marked a full circle moment for Ziegler.

He recalled, "It's is like homecoming because in our younger days, Bobby and I spent so much time down here on the beach. In the rock piles here on Courthouse Road, fishing and crabbing, going out on our sailboats and having lots of fun."

Bobby's love of being on the water continued into his adult life, when he became a boat captain. "Often times he was the last captain who was willing to go out and pull crew members in before a hurricane would come in." said Ziegler.

By the looks of the night's turnout, friends and family believed Bobby's will was given the highest honors.

"My brother was a wonderful person and he was always a giver," his sister said lovingly. "He would be very humbled to see so many people out here who loved him celebrating his life."

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