The memorial service for David Michael Grubbs featured plenty of music and several laughs as friends and family recalled his off-kilter sense of humor and genuine way with people.
Grubbs probably would've wanted such a memorial, based on the recollections of those who filled Ashland's First United Methodist Church on Saturday. Hundreds of community members also attended the gathering to show their support for the family.
His sister Sarah Grubbs spoke of the young man's love for his family and how he always looked for a humorous angle in any situation.
"I'm sure he would make a joke if he was here right now," she said, drawing laughs from those who filled every pew in the church.
His father, Michael Grubbs, expressed his thanks to the community and to the police working to solve his son's brutal murder.
He noted the success of a memorial fund established in Grubbs' name, which generated $10,000 in donations at Shop'n Kart, where David Grubbs worked.
"We are still thinking of ways to spend the money in David's name," Michael Grubbs said.
David Grubbs, 23, was found murdered on the Central Ashland Bike Path near the Hunter Park tennis courts at about 5:35 p.m. Nov. 19. An autopsy showed he was nearly decapitated from a weapon with a medium to large blade, police said.
Police said Grubbs did not appear to have been robbed, and no suspects have been publicly named.
The murder has shaken Ashland to its core. It has become a topic at the town's coffee shops and bars, with some speculating it was a random killing, which makes the idea of it more disturbing.
Detectives and officers from various Rogue Valley agencies, including Ashland police Chief Terry Holderness, attended the service. They have been working nearly round the clock since Grubbs' body was discovered on the bike path to find his killer.
But little was said of the manner in which Grubbs died on Saturday. Most wanted to remember his passion for the stand-up bass, video games and his antics at Shop'n Kart, where he worked for seven years.
Those in attendance were given time to relate a quick story or thought about Grubbs. They spoke of his ability to imitate voices from his favorite movies, such as "Zoolander" and "Ace Ventura."
He also was famous for donning an Abraham Lincoln costume on Halloween. He reported to Shop'n Kart with a dyed beard and a stove-pipe hat.
A photo montage of his life was set to various songs, including "I Can See Clearly Now." Some of Grubbs' mugging for the camera drew chuckles from the crowd.
After the service, a throng of family and friends moved to a reception on the church campus. The service's program featured pictures of Grubbs and lyrics from some of his favorite bands.
A verse from Led Zeppelin's "Ramble On" printed in the program seemed especially fitting in a remembrance of Grubbs' laid-back lifestyle and the grief felt by those gathered to celebrate his life:
"For now I smell the rain, and with it pain, and it's headed my way. Sometimes I grow so tired, but I know I've got one thing I got to do ... Ramble on."
Reach reporter Chris Conrad at 541-776-4471; or email firstname.lastname@example.org.