A Light So Bright

By Cindy Caldwell

Much like the lights in the night’s sky that shine so eternally bright from stars long extinguished, so shines the radiant lights of certain few souls that have touched our lives so vibrantly throughout our journey on this earth.

This past Friday May 10th just such a man, Drew Kauffman past away. A man who’s eternal light that shined so brightly upon all those he touch and even those who never had the very unique opportunity to personally meet him, in some way felt the warm glow that radiated from him through his amazing works of art, his acts of true kindness, his dedication to the Community and especially to all those in it, and most importantly through those that he left behind that will allow Drew to live on forever with his light never to be extinguished.

The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy. Everything you were, everything you’ll someday be, resides in the small, seemingly ordinary choices of everyday life.

As no stranger to loss with the passing of his Sister Leslie in 2014 and his 15 year battle against Glioblastoma, the most aggressive cancer that begins within the brain, Drew was a man who stood strong through great adversities and met the challenges of life with not only great resolve and conviction, but with the most tender and heartfelt love of life and of those around him.

Survived by the love of his life Courtney Hillhouse, his two Sons, Finley and Sawyer, and his Mother Peg, Drew was first and foremost a very loving Father, a wonderful Son, and a truly caring man, and certainly one of the most amazing people to have ever graced our City and beyond with his dazzling warmth and true inner goodness that will immortalize all that he was, and is forever.

As the founder of the Arts & Drafts Festival in 2008, the event was designed to offer artists and musicians alike, the opportunity to platform their talent and their work for the Erie community to not only enjoy, but as an event the people of Erie can actively participate in as well. The Arts and Drafts Fest gives the Erie community a chance to experience a distinctive look at a number of the region’s most exceptionally talented artists and musicians over the course of a three-day event.  Much like the enduring impression that Drew has left on this world, the phenomenal event that he created for all of us has stood the test of time as well.

A man draped in dignity, surrounded by strength, and projecting honor and love to everyone, Drew was the embodiment of the true meaning of a man, friend, companion, Feather and Son, never having a bad word to say about anyone, and meeting the world each day with an energy so intense and a smile so real that it infused us all with passion and warmth, leaving behind a straightforward goodness and a shining example of how to live life and what it means to be a human.

Though his time with us was short, all that he was and that which he left behind will perpetually live on to inspire us to live life to its fullest and encourage us to go on with dignity, strength and compassion, and to never give up on what means the most in life.

To Drew Kauffman we not only say goodbye, but more importantly, we say thank you so much for what you gave us with your time spent here, and for all that you leave us with, which can never be forgotten, and will always be cherished.  To Drew’s family we wish you the courage to face the days ahead, the comfort of wonderful memories, and the knowledge that the time that you had with him was truly special and exceptional.

Through his art and dedication, his commitment to his family and friends, and his power and passion Drew left a legacy that will never be forgotten, and will always be embraced, and just as the light from stars long ago doused, Drew’s will shine as that of the brightest star in the heavens for all time in our hearts.

Goodbye Drew, we will love, miss, and remember you always!

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