Time makes a warrior of us all. Liam Hamilton McKelvey, born March 14, 1996, faced much adversity when coming into this beautifully fragile world. In the process of his birth, he almost passed several times, but his warrior spirit was strong and his family’s undying love, mystically forged the foundation for this special soul to enter our world. There are many words that come to mind when we think of our brother: a born leader, a master craftsman, an amazing athlete, a dedicated friend, brother, uncle and son, a comedian, a lover of life, people, and the outdoors, a gifted soldier, and most of all a truly genuine soul.
Throughout his childhood, his family added to the qualities that helped to define our brother. Each person impacted and molded him, as he, too, deeply added to the fabric of their lives. It is said that adversity defines character; a statement which rang true for our family for many years, and consequently still is true. In the midst of all the difficult times our family endured, Liam was one of those unique people who was distinctly fitted to help one weather a difficult storm. Even at a young age, he witnessed the beauty and chaos of life, attempting to make sense of both, sharing a subtle smile and his off-color humor to make light out of the consuming darkness. He is one of those tragic heroes one gets to only enjoy from the safety of one’s couch while deeply engaged in the stories of William Shakespeare’s Hamlet or Homer’s The Iliad. He was able to bear others’ burdens and harness their suffering to add to the commitment and dedication of his own constitution and resolve.
As a man, Liam was a consummate professional who was dedicated to his country, unit, service, and family. He loved what he did; his fascination with the mechanics of flying drove him to excel within his field of duty, allowing him to lead by example, illustrating the true definition of service and commitment to excellence. He was extremely proud of the pilots and airmen that he served beside, expressing the importance of responsibility and requirements necessary to run a tight ship. During his time in active service, he earned the rank of Staff Sergeant, as well as receiving many military accolades associated with his commitment to excellence. Liam’s commitment to excellence, his pride, and values were a product of his family’s views about the importance of service and commitment to God, country and family, as well as the values his military family helped instill within him. In a very beautiful way, Liam was born of two families: one of which the blood of our ancestors’ flows, and one of which the blood of the warrior culture of proud military service men flows, commingled together they both produced a spirit of great love and fortitude.
Anyone who had the special privilege of getting to interact with our brother came away better for having had that experience. Whether it was his family, friends, fellow military brothers and sisters, or the random unknowns who were blessed with crossing his path, we are all better for having been touched by Liam’s spirit. It is rare when an individual can affect so many people and expect nothing in return; to love and give so selflessly: the very definition of a patriotic altruist. It is hard to accept the pain and anguish with having to comprehend the loss of such a beautiful and kindred spirit. He passed away June 30, 2021 and this world will never be the same. If he were able to be here, he would implore us all to embrace the beauty of life, smile, and to laugh a little. We believe Liam would want us all to “Buck Up!” as my grandfather would tell us, impressing upon us the notion that we must all carry on with a strong resolve, and to never back down to a challenge. He is the very definition of Memento Mori, a reminder of death, so get busy living because nothing is promised tomorrow. Our family will never be the same, but we will be forever grateful for having had the opportunity to spend what beautiful time we had with Liam Hamilton McKelvey, also known as “Squirrel” by his military family. We love you and hope to see you in the great hereafter. God speed and just keep smiling young man, your heavenly family waits to embrace you.
A memorial service will be held Saturday July 10th at 1 p.m. at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, the Springville 7th Ward Springville Stake, 1785 East 400 South. Following the memorial services, Liam Hamilton McKelvey will then be laid to rest at the Evergreen Cemetery in Springville, Utah.
He is survived by everyone who loved him.
In lieu of flowers, Liam “Squirrel” McKelvey would have appreciated people donating to:
The Nature Conservancy
575 Stone Cutters Way
Montpelier, Vermont 05602
DONOR RELATIONS MANAGER
Suma Lashof (ext. 115)