In Memory of Drew


Scott Hale

Reading the stories that have already been posted, it touches my heart to see how Drew touched the lives of so many others, even if it was in a brief, passing moment. Drew was just that type of guy, the one who would give you the shirt off his back with no questions asked. My first moment with Drew was during a jazz band audition- he was a goofy looking freshman carrying a trombone. I was happy to see some more horns joining the jazz band, but then I heard him play. I’ll never forget looking at Cam Napier, both of us thinking wow this kid can play. Drew’s passion was the bass, but he never said anything about playing trombone instead. He was selfless like that, more than happy just to play some jazz with his friends however he could because that’s what he truly cared about. I’ll never forget a lot of those gigs. We usually found ourselves in odd places on a random gig Bob Sunda would get us, yet when we were all trading solos to eat up time, Drew never shied away from taking a 3 minute trombone solo, complete with a few of the most “Drew” sounds you have ever heard come from a horn, followed by that classic Drew grin when he was finished. If you’ve ever been in a rehearsal with him, you know what I mean.

Drew was one of the first younger members in Sigma Nu that I became really close with, and he became my “little” in the fraternity. When I first met him, he thought it was crazy that someone could be a musician in the city and still have time for fraternity life, and I think that is something he wanted deeply for his own college years. Drew couldn’t possibly be one thing. He had to be all of the things: son, brother, bassist, trombonist, Sigma Nu man, English student, fisherman, and most importantly a true friend. Reading so many reflections and remembrances reminds me of Drew’s ability to make a positive mark on the life of anyone who interacted with him, even in the slightest. Drew was a magnet for good people. I had the privilege of watching him attract some of the best guys at Sig Nu rush events, and I had the privilege of seeing him grow into a kind, caring, and thoughtful man at Rhodes, surrounded by so many loving people. Most importantly, I had the privilege of being his friend.

He always said that he looked up to me, but I can’t tell you I didn’t look up to him just as much. He was just such a model example of how to treat others and how to get the most out of life. Over the course of our friendship Drew was able to show me a lot about how to be a great person through his actions alone, and I’m sure most of the time he didn’t even realize it, because that’s the type of person he was. Drew knew how to make you feel comfortable talking about anything, and I always felt like he was tuned in and genuinely cared about whatever it was I had to say. We at Sigma Nu needed Drew more than he needed us. I don’t think any of us ever left a conversation or a hang with Drew without being reminded that Drew was one of the greatest friends or people.

I found a lot of solace in music over the years, and Drew was always there at the late night combo rehearsals with a smile on his face and at least 10 jokes in the tank ready to go in case it got a little too quiet. He was always around at the Curb Institute ready to help with any recording project, even if it didn’t involve him at all. Drew was always able to remind me not to take life so seriously. He had such an air of it’ll be okay. I don’t think I ever saw Drew sweat over anything, and even when he was backed into a corner having to do a lit paper extremely last minute, he always found a way to make the situation predominantly humorous rather than stressful.

Some of my last memories at Rhodes include Drew. The last photo in my camera roll from campus is a picture of our Sigma Nu family- Me, Drew, and Alex Hemphill (Drew’s little and my grand-little), and I will never forget the fervor with which Drew asked for us to get a picture because he was so excited to have Alex in our family. Drew understood the importance of brotherhood and family, and when he saw an opportunity to honor that, he always took it. I will never forget my last moment with Drew. I was packing to leave for New York and getting rid of the last of my furniture, and Drew wanted to buy the TV I posted on Rhodes Exchange. I was so happy to have an excuse to break my quarantine in order to see him one last time. I gave him a big hug that day, because I knew leaving Drew behind was going to be hard. He was a person you genuinely want in your life, who showed you how and when to laugh in the stressful times, who showed you how to have the most fun possible with your friends, who showed you how to care for others and be a gentleman. I know I won’t get another text in January that says “happy bday dad,” I know I won’t get a huge hug at homecoming next year, and I know that I won’t find any leftover Hamms in my fridge from Drew and Cam watching my cats one last time. However, I do know for a fact that I don’t have a single bad memory with Drew, either.