FWB civic leader in grave condition after fall

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KELLY HUMPHREY @KellyHnwfdn

FORT WALTON BEACH — Longtime civic leader and retired FBI agent Bill Garvie is reported to be in grave condition at a local hospital after falling off a ladder Tuesday.

Garvie, 75, is the co-owner with his wife, Martha Garvie, of Aunt Martha’s Bed and Breakfast on Shell Avenue in Fort Walton Beach. According to a report from the Fort Walton Beach Police Department, Garvie was washing the second-story windows on the back of the building when he fell from the ladder around 3 p.m.

Garvie reportedly was unconscious when the Police Department received the 911 call, having suffered a serious injury to his head. He was taken by ambulance to Fort Walton Beach Medical Center, where he was being treated in the Intensive Care Unit.

Garvie retired from the FBI as a member of the Senior Executive Service. During a long and active career, he was involved with a number of high-profile cases, including the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, that killed 259 people in 1988.

“He was very proud of his career in the FBI,” said John Andrews, a fellow retired agent who met Garvie through their membership in the Emerald Coast Chapter of Former FBI Agents. “He was a great guy who was honest as the day is long.”

Garvie was elected to the Fort Walton Beach City Council in 2007. According to Tom Rice, the owner of the Magnolia Grill, Garvie always put the welfare of his community first.

“I always felt like he was the kind of councilman who listened when I went to talk to him,” Rice said. “And as a fellow business owner, he understood the challenges we face. He was never one of those people who didn’t have time for you.”

Rice and Andrews described Garvie as a devoutly religious man. In 2015, at the age of 73, the longtime member of St. Mary Catholic Church set out on a lone pilgrimage on the Camino de Santiago in Spain.

The 34-day, more than 500-mile journey had a profound effect on him, Garvie told the Daily News at the time.

“My goal was to try to be a more peaceful person. I think I did that,” he said. “I would walk by myself and go through a lot of meditations.”

Rice said Garvie “always had a big smile and was always telling jokes.”

“He and Martha have been positive influences in this community,” Rice said. “He is just a great guy.”

 

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