LaFayette Sun News

Memorial bench dedicated in remembrance of LaFayette resident

Family and friends gather to dedicate a memorial bench to the late Richard Rowland of LaFayette.

By John Brice

Local residents gathered for the dedication of a memorial bench in remembrance of dearly departed LaFayette resident Richard Rowland at the corner of Alabama Avenue East and 1st Street Southeast during the morning hours of Monday, May 6th of 2024.
Laura Smith, one of LaFayette Main Street’s most active volunteers, was Rowland’s mother-in-law and worked with her son David to present the bench as a surprise birthday gift to her daughter Suzanne Rowland who was widowed by Richard’s untimely passing. Suzanne was in Florida visiting her brother to celebrate their mutual birthdays which both fall on the same day at the time of the gathering which prompted her mother Laura to send a video greeting via the LaFayette Sun facebook page.
Ms. Laura, as her friends lovingly call her, began her message by saying “I want to thank all of you for taking a few minutes of your time to do this prize for Suzanne. Today is her birthday, as is her brother David’s. They were born three years apart. They are adopted children, I think you all know, who blessed Joe and I greatly. I haven’t even called her. A few days ago, she said ‘I am going to be with my brother on his birthday for the first time in a long time’. Here I had this big surprise going on with LaFayette Main Street with Pam who is design chairman. I can’t thank you enough, I love you all. I love LaFayette. I love Mr. President. I just love everybody because God calls us to love everybody.”
Addressing her daughter Suzanne, Laura remarked “Hi honey, this is your mom wishing you and your brother a happy birthday. Suzanne, the president, David and I have for you what is sitting in front of me. It is a bench in memory of Richard Rowland, who you loved and we loved.” She went on to continue “They all have joined here, we’re dedicating the bench at the corner of the courthouse to Richard. We hope you have a wonderful day. I had planned this before you went away with a surprise, then you decide to go to David’s. Then, David and I had a plan that you would be home and we would call you and everybody could talk to you. Even Freddy and Kevin, your old neighbors, are here. I am sorry that you went to get your hair cut.”
Decorating the bench is a memorial plaque that reads “In loving memory of Richard Rowland whose dedication, faith and service lives on through the LaFayette community.”

One Reply to “Memorial bench dedicated in remembrance of LaFayette resident

  1. John thank you for your kind words and to help make this dedication special. Ms Laura

Leave a Reply