Lovic Marbury of Leesburg was a guy you don’t forget.
The son of a peanut farmer, he was a lanky, blonde Shaggy lookalike who loved country music, cold beer and Waffle House. In a world full of carbon copies, Lovic was an original. And it started early.
When he was 14, he and a buddy decided it was time for a road trip. To New Orleans. Two boys not even old enough to drive a car drove a truck to the Crescent City. The details of what happened there were a bit sketchy in everyone’s mind, especially in Lovic’s. All we know for sure is that his parents were deathly worried and very glad when police found him and helped get him back home.
I didn’t know Lovic then. We wouldn’t meet until our freshman year at the University of Georgia when we became pledge brothers in the Kappa Alpha Order.
Our class of about 30 guys took a lot of road trips together as well — mostly in the fall to see Ray Goff’s Bulldogs take an ‘L’. That seemed about to change in 1994 when our boys were beating the Crimson Tide in Tuscaloosa, and we were all screaming in Bryant-Denny Stadium. Alas, the Dogs did what they did best back then: blow a big lead. (Quit complaining about the past three years, UGA fans.) Georgia led 28-19 in the third quarter behind the arm of Eric Zeier when things went sideways, as they always did. Bama, and this was not Nick Saban’s Bama, kicked a field goal with 1:12 left to secure a 29-28 win.
Lovic went missing after the game. None of us really had secured overnight accommodations so we mostly curled up in available public spaces to sleep in Tuscaloosa. We didn’t find Lovic until the next morning when we learned that he and Jim Beam made their way into the Bear Bryant Museum and found a nice couch for a good night’s sleep. That was Lovic. Unfortunately, our circle of friends was under the mistaken impression that “Animal House” was a how-to video.
Later we were roommates in an old shanty house off Milledge Avenue in Athens. If you dropped a golf ball on the floor in the home, it would roll to one corner. The siding was made of faux brick asphalt.
After a few too many wrecks and too many rendezvous with Athens-Clarke County authorities, I don’t think Lovic finished his degree and we lost touch after he went home to Leesburg.
But after a few years, several of us started getting emails from Lovic. He had tried wearing a suit and working at the bank in Albany, but it just wasn’t working out for him. He had gotten his CDL and was going to hit the road as a truck driver, which was a pretty impressive accomplishment given his driving record. And he wrote the most amazing, hilarious journals of his experiences on the road. It put my writing to shame.
Finally, his well-to-do parents had had enough — they told Lovic to come home or they were getting a divorce.
In recent months, many of us had re-connected on a group chat where we have deeply intellectual discussions about Georgia football and our crazy days in Athens. Lovic was in the group and often chipped in his unique, down-home wisdom. Lovic seemed like a groovy crooner, but he was well-read.
Thankfully, many of us Kappa Alpha boys have changed our ways in adult life. Some of us have found faith. Not a few of us have been to re-hab. Lovic himself had gotten married and had a boy. But he apparently still wrestled with those alcohol demons, and with family demons that had him going through a divorce. On Jan. 1, Lovic had bantered with us during the Georgia win in the Sugar Bowl. And on Jan. 2, we got the text that he had killed himself. It was devastating.
Almost every night when we were roommates, Lovic and I would get some Waffle House and watch “The David Letterman Show”. We shared an appreciation for dry wit and sarcasm. One night Lovic made the run to pick up our chicken melts and hash browns at the Five Points Waffle House. When he got back, he noted with amusement that a guy inside the restaurant had asked him: “Have you accepted Jesus Christ as your personal savior?”
I wasn’t a believer at the time and we chuckled. But I was later. And I find myself desperately hoping that at some point, Lovic made that decision too. It’s not something a lot of guys naturally talk about. But Lovic’s death is a reminder that guys all around us are battling demons, and we as Christians have the obligation to share the knowledge that there’s only one way to defeat them.