Allen David Carli, Jr. was a legend. A fraternity brother and friend of 55 years, Dave (Carli, Carlos, Los, etc, etc) was a successful salesman for Reynolds, lover of beautiful women, golf-aholic, and in retirement, the Starter, “Director of Happiness”, and jack-of-all-trades at Meadow Farms Golf Course in Orange County, VA. A graduate of Benedictine High School in Richmond and the College of William and Mary in Virginia, he “played through” on March 1, 2022, surrounded by his loving family. As my Welsh friends and family can appreciate, you can’t pick a more significant day to pass into the next life than St. David’s Day. Our David always had good timing.
Carli was universally loved. He was that guy who asked you how you were doing and listened to the answer. His infectious cackling laughter brightened the days and nights of all who knew him and some who just happened to be at the other end of the bar.
Whether he laughed with you or at you, it was never with rancor, and he had the perfect touch when it came to making you laugh at yourself.
Our fraternity has had a from time-to-time reunion in Williamsburg, VA thanks to the initiative of Bob Pope and Bill Semones and the hospitality of Kempton and Mary Shields. The weekend always includes golf, laughter, barbecue, and many old stories.
One year we were playing the Golden Horseshoe in Williamsburg and I was in a foursome with Dave. My driver was not behaving, and I had banana-sliced a fortune in Pro-V1's into the swamps, woods, and ponds of Tidewater, VA. My partners had watched my suffering in silence until I asked for the loan of a second ball on one of the tees. Two partners stared at their shoes, but the ever-generous David Carli tossed me a shiny new sphere.
With perfect timing, as the gift reached the apex of its arc, we all heard Dave say, “so long ball.” Before I even caught it, three Sigma Pi’s were bent over in laughter led by that Carli cackle. I joined in the mirth and thought later that without having to say just how badly I was driving that day; Carli broke the tension and branded a memory.
A legendary guy deserves a legendary send off and his devoted friend Jimmy Mitchell and Meadow Farms Golf Course combined to create a memorable weekend for Dave Carli on Friday, April 8 and Saturday, April 9.
Friday night Jimmy (Carli’s pal since eighth grade) hosted a back of the bar wake in Dave’s honor at Jimmy’s favorite watering hole, Buddy’s Place on Sheppard Street in Richmond. Fraternity brothers, William and Mary and Benedictine classmates, as well as Carli’s family, came together over snacks and drinks in Dave’s honor. Social guy that he was, you could have just seen him moving through this little crowd, laughing, and enjoying every moment. Eleven of us then retired to Izzy’s Kitchen for a delicious repast and reminiscences of the life, loves, and laughter of our dear friend, brother, and uncle.
On Saturday evening, the celebration of life moved to Meadow Farms Golf Course in Orange County. The program that night followed a script that was “so Carli” in every aspect that it will be remembered far into the future by all witnesses.
In lieu of a 21-gun salute, Dave had requested a three-shot salute to the elevated green of the waterfall par three. That was followed by (wait for it) one half of his ashes being sent over the waterfall in a sushi boat. The 150 witnesses were warned that upon landing, the boat would sink to the bottom of the pond and that Dave had been aware of that climax. All came off as planned and the patrons slowly climbed the hill back to the clubhouse smiling, wiping away tears, and shaking their memory-filled heads.
After more beers, some food and remarks, the pièce de résistance of Carli’s wish list was executed according to his precise instructions. A sensational 20-minute professional fireworks display was capped off by one final pyrotechnic. A 10-inch mortar had been packed with the other half of Brother Dave’s ashes and per his request was launched one thousand feet into the air to (his words) “blow his ass up” over the course that he loved. Purported to be one of the largest fireworks ever detonated in the Commonwealth, it rattled the windows of my wife’s cousin’s home five miles away.
In the words of one of our fellow fraternity brothers, Dave Carli truly “went out with a bang.”
Meadow Farms clubhouse welcoming poster for Dave Carli's Celebration of Life, April 9, 2022.
Meadow Farms clubhouse from the 9th fairway
The iconic Waterfall Par 3 just prior to 3-shot salute and Carli's trip over the falls.
From now on, the phrase, "Carli's on the course" will have a new meaning
Dave Carli and his Sigma Pi fan club. West Point Virginia home of Kempton and Mary Shields.