It was a service that was as unique as the individual it honored. The 75 people in attendance ranged from students to senior citizens; they wore slacks, skirts and biker shorts. Perhaps the only thing that the group had in common was that they were all friends of the late William Findley Guffey.
Shakespeare’s seemed to be the perfect venue for Tuesday evening’s service. After all, it was the Shakespeare’s parking lot where Guffey truly made his mark on the community. It was there that Guffey, or Finn, became the local celebrity known as the “parking lot guy.”
Dick Kjeeland met Guffey in the Shakespeare’s parking lot seven years ago.
“We would frequently come in (to Shakespeare’s) and he would always be there to park our car,” Kjeeland said.
Guffey’s daughter, Katherine, said her father enjoyed his time in Columbia and thanked the community for befriending her father.
“I think my dad lived by the philosophy that the most important moment is now, and the most important person is the one you are with.”
Guffey’s daughter gave a 20-minute eulogy honoring her late father and read anecdotes and shared memories from some of his friends dating back as far as high school.
Guffey gave his daughter two simple instructions for any kind of service that would honor his life: avoid crying, and don’t ever say he passed away. Even in death, the modest Guffey, who attended Washington, Cornell and Harvard universities, would not have liked anything that would glorify his life.
“He really liked life when it was raw and honest,” Katherine Guffey said.