A final farewell at Veterans Park
By Bobby Bryant, Editor
They brought Danny Weaver’s coffin, a U.S. flag draped over it, to the Darlington Veterans Memorial Park last week. A bugler played “Taps.” A rifle brigade, across the street at the Courthouse, fired a salute. Under a merciless late-afternoon sun, an honor guard lifted the flag off the casket and folded it precisely into a small triangle. They presented it to Grady Weaver, Danny’s brother, and he took it to Danny’s widow, Tonda, sitting under a tent. Why were the military honors conducted at Veterans Park? Because Weaver is credited as the man who essentially built it. Franklin David “Danny” Weaver Jr. of Darlington, who died July 26 at the age of 80, was at the front of the effort to raise money to build the park, which was dedicated in 2014. “Danny stayed with it through and through, through and through,” said Mike Beckham of American Legion Post 13. “He jumped on board 100 percent-plus to get this park going,” said Beckham. “It was kind of his baby. I think he was probably the key player who kept (the effort) alive.” Beckham said educator Jane Lloyd and Weaver came up with the idea for the park about 2012 and formed a committee to raise funds to build it on the Public Square on the site where a store had burned down. A 1959 graduate of then-St. John’s High School, Weaver joined the Navy and later the S.C. Army National Guard, where he served as a medic aboard helicopters. He retired with the rank of sergeant first class. He worked for ESAB Welding and Cutting Products, later helping start DSI Metals Inc. of Florence. According to his obituary, Weaver is survived by his wife, Tonda West Weaver; children, Scott Weaver and wife Amy, Jonathan Weaver and wife Shelly, Cherelle Weaver Whitfield and husband Eddie, and Jake Mims and wife Casie; his brother, Grady Weaver and wife Fran; his nieces, Lezlie Weaver and husband, Gil, Mardi Kemp, and Sonja Paulk and husband John; and his nephew, Cliff Kemp; his stepmother, Sadie Phila Weatherford Weaver; his father and mother-in-law, Freddie and Martha West; his grandchildren, Ashley Montrose, Tyler Montrose, Bradley Bish, Maitland Weaver, Emi Weaver, Preston Bibler, Bailey Bibler, Kylie Bibler, Hamp Mims and Mabry Mims; and five great-grandchildren.