Family, friends, dignitaries and people throughout the community - 350 in all - filled the tent at Ann Street Park to be a part of the Celebration of Life for David R. Chant on May 21.
It was a beautiful day, and the theme of love was pervasive throughout the ceremony.
Guests received little packets labeled “let love grow” which contained a heart-shaped tablet which actually would grow when submerged in water.
“He put the ‘gentle’ in ‘gentleman’,” Mayor Sean Strub said in opening the ceremony. “Dave modeled civil, respectful discourse, leadership to which we should all aspire.”
There were a goodly number of speakers as well as an open mike for anyone to come up and say a few words about this much-loved man.
A man of faith
Holley Chant talked about her father’s being a man of faith, “He believed that, together, in faith, we could come together as a community.”
Duke Schneider, friend and colleague of almost 50 years remarked at how Dave always ended a phone conversation with the words, “God Bless.”
Twenty Masons from Chant’s Masonic Lodge wore white aprons - a sign of respect for Chant’s status as a Master Mason. They recited the memorial blessing and and as they finished, they each said: “Farewell, my brother.”
Tamara Chant conveyed her father’s love for the real estate business and how he passed on that love and true grit with which he approached things.
He was first to come into the office and often the last to leave, she said.
Kristee Cassimore and Carly Longhenry remembered Chant as a father figure and mentor and one who changed their lives with his kindness, strength and leadership.
State Senator Lisa Baker, who has known Chant for 40 years, referred to him as a pillar of our community for his special skill in bringing so many buyers and sellers together.
“Dave invested his time, talents and energy into a wide range of community, commercial and charitable projects,” Baker said. “If you seek his monument, look around – it’s all around us, in homes, businesses, commercial properties - in this beautiful park . This monument will be all around us, not just for today, but for generations to come.”
Duke Schneider echoed Baker’s sentiments: “Dave’s legacy is the whole town– thousands of people that he brought here. And those thousands contributed a lot to the community.”
May 21: Davis R. Chant Day
Mayor Strub announced that May 21 will be known as “Davis R. Chant Day” in Milford borough and that Blackberry Alley, next to the Chante Real Estate office, will be renamed “Davis R. Chant Way.”
Strub also announced that all the upcoming festivals and events in Milford (Black Bear Film Festival, Milford Presents, Milford Readers and Writers Festival) have decided to dedicate their events to the memory of Dave Chant.
Judy, Holley, Bruce Porter (Dave’s Brother) and Tamara Chant thanked people for coming as Jonathon Fornoff sang, “When the Saints Come Marching In.”
And in the words of Senator Baker: “He will be missed. He is now our better angel.”