NOTE: This is a story I had originally written at Canton-Sixes Patch in 2013 as a standard police and fire article. Soon after I wrote that article, I was contacted by Luca’s “American Mom” Kelley to do a more in-depth piece on his life. She shared the stories I wrote about below and provided some photos for me to use. After I wrote this article, I received thanks from some of Luca’s friends and family. I am glad I was able to tell this young man’s story, but I wish it had been under happier circumstances.
The best way to sum up the life of Luca Garovi is a story his “adopted mother” Kelley Mure tells about her daughter Rachel’s wedding.
Once Luca found out the wedding was to be held the day before his mother’s 70th birthday in Switzerland, he hopped on a plane from Phoenix to his birth country to be with his mother on her special day, then took the next flight back to Arizona to be a groomsman at his “sister’s” wedding.
If you asked Luca, he had family in Switzerland and family in America.
“He told everyone he had six brothers and five sisters. Nico, Lorenzo, Claudio Garovi, Nick, Marcus, and Chiara Corbo, and John, Rachel, Hannah, and Sarah Mure, and Nicole Hauessler,” Mure wrote in an e-mail to Patch.
Luca Garovi was born in Bern, Switzerland, on Feb. 9, 1985, the youngest of four children of Angelo and Anne Marie Garovi. Luca first came to the U.S. as an exchange student in Orcutt, CA, and fell in love with the country.
“He loved the states so much and had no desire greater than to be a US citizen,” wrote Mure.
After returning to Switzerland to complete his mandatory military service, he returned to the United States in 2007 to attend Arizona State University. He dual-majored in Criminal Justice and Communications, and earned academic honors every semester he was there.
When he wasn’t in the classroom, Luca loved to go snowboarding, four wheeling, or traveling. Curiously, Luca may have been the only Swiss person in history to not like chocolate.
Luca had to return to Switzerland after graduating in 2011 because his student visa was set to expire, but quickly applied for and earned a position with the Swiss government in Atlanta. During his time off, Luca would return home to Arizona to spend time with his family. He enrolled at Penn State University, hoping to earn a master’s degree in Homeland Security from the institution.
Luca wrote to his brother in Switzerland last March that should anything ever happen to him, he would like to be laid to rest in his adopted home of Arizona. . The cause of the crash is still under investigation.
Following his wishes, services will be held at Christ’s Church of the Valley in Peoria, AZ on Monday. Luca’s family in Switzerland will be in attendance.