LCpl. Devon Seymour
(reprinted from CentralOhio.com, June 11, 2005)
Then the Marine Reservist called his mother at work.
"He said everything was all right and not to worry about him," said his mourning father, Jim, a military man himself, who served in Afghanistan last year.
Hours later a roadside bomb killed the 21-year-old from St. Louisville.
Seymour was among five Marines killed in the attack in the Al Anbar region at 8:28 p.m. Thursday, Iraqi time, including three Ohio causalities from Weapons Company 3rd Battalion 25th Marine Regiment 4th Marine Division out of Akron, according to the U.S. Department of Defense. He's the first Licking County resident to die in Iraq.
As the sad news spread Friday, Seymour was remembered by family and friends as a generous, hard-working Marine who loved his dogs and working on his truck. Seymour graduated from Utica High School in 2002, just months after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. He's survived by his parents, Jim and Janet, and older sister, Lachelle, a former Advocate reporter.
Shortly before graduating, Seymour took his birth certificate to the Marine Corps, but was too young to enlist, his mother said. After a short wait for his 18th birthday, Seymour was on his way to boot camp at Parris Island, S.C.
"Like most young guys, they look at it as a big adventure -- going to a foreign country," Jim Seymour said. "He was happy to do his part."
Seymour was deployed to Iraq in February, where he served as an infantryman and worked with heavy weapons, Jim Seymour said.
Long before he became a Marine, Devon's first love was dogs.
"He used to cut out pictures of dogs and put them in the bathroom or in drawers, so every time his mother opened up a drawer there was a dog," Jim Seymour said of his then 5-year-old son.
It wasn't long before the family got him a poodle-terrier mix that looked just like the cut-outs he had made.
"He was taking swimming lessons with his sister at the YMCA. He was busy swimming, and we waited outside the Y with the puppy. His mother went inside and got Devon and he came out and saw this little ball of fur and saw that it was a puppy. He was overjoyed. He just wanted a dog. He didn't care what type it was."
As he grew older, Seymour worked hard and gave of himself.
While working part-time as a teen, Seymour spotted a truck he wanted sitting on the edge of town.
He bought the truck, and did the work to keep it running, his father said.
"Pretty much once he got an idea in his mind, he would figure out a way to get it," his father said. "He and his sister were very independent."
While in high school, Seymour worked and took care of the house with his mother during times when his father was away in the Army.
With a father serving in the Army for more than 20 years, and four uncles in the military, Seymour had "pretty much been around military his whole life," his father said.
"I'd take he and his sister to parties at the armory for Christmas," Jim Seymour said. "When I was out at post at the military school, the family would come out and spend a week with me."
Seymour joined a the United States Air Force Civil Air Patrol at age 11, which met in Zanesville and at Rickenbacker Airport, his father said. There he learned things like assisting with plane crash searches, how to march, rappelling and camping.
Jim Seymour returned last May from his deployment to Afghanistan and was able to see Devon before he was called to duty several months later.
Up until he was called to active duty early this year, Devon worked at Tractor Supply Company in Newark.
On a post by the checkout lines on Friday was a framed picture of Seymour, placed there by his co-workers.
Written on Seymour's framed picture: "Now serving in Iraq, TSC associate, Marine Devon Seymour"
David Butler, Seymour's boss at TSC, remembered him as a jokester who was very generous.
He would often say, "I ain't doing it," when asked to tend to something in the store.
"Of course he would turn right around and do it," Butler said.
Seymour would often buy co-workers lunch and not let them pay him back, and would buy birthday and Valentine's Day gifts.
Seymour called the store last week and told Butler that he couldn't wait to get home, and that he was tired of the wind and sand.
"He didn't listen to me," Butler said. "I told him he had to come back."
Funeral arrangements for Lance Cpl. Devon Seymour were incomplete Friday evening.