‘A force of nature’: Family, friends remember Amherst man killed in Holyoke 

  • Elizabeth Musgrave holds a photo of her son, Andrew Musgrave, swinging from the copper beach tree outside the family’s Natick home, where they lived until Andrew was 9. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Elizabeth Musgrave, right, talks about her son, Andrew, during an interview with the Gazette at the Musgrave home in Amherst on Friday, August 23, 2019. From left are family friend Ke'Rasha Smith, Andrew's older brother, David, and Elizabeth's father, Edward Rising. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Elizabeth Musgrave, joined by her father, Edward Rising, talks about her son, Andrew, during an interview with the Gazette at the Musgrave home in Amherst on Friday, August 23, 2019. Andrew Musgrave, a 2006 graduate of Amherst Regional High School, was shot and killed in Holyoke on August 3 at the age of 31. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • A photo of Andrew Musgrave showing the tattoo of his mother’s family crest on his chest. Musgrave had his father’s family crest tattooed on his back. SUBMITTED PHOTO

  • A undated photo of young Andrew Musgrave, left, with his older brother, David. —SUBMITTED PHOTO

  • Andrew Musgrave’s father, Alan Musgrave, left, family friend Ke’Rasha Smith, and Andrew’s brother, David, talk about how Andrew lived his life, Friday, at the Musgrave home in Amherst. Andrew Musgrave, a 2006 graduate of Amherst Regional High School, was shot and killed in Holyoke on Aug. 3 at the age of 31. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • David Musgrave of Chicago talks about his younger brother, Andrew, during an interview with the Gazette at the Musgrave home in Amherst on Friday, August 23, 2019. Andrew Musgrave, a 2006 graduate of Amherst Regional High School, was shot and killed in Holyoke on August 3 at the age of 31. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • This undated photo shows Andrew Musgrave at work as a carpenter in New York City. Musgrave, a 2006 graduate of Amherst Regional High School, was shot and killed in Holyoke on Aug. 3 at the age of 31. SUBMITTED PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 8/24/2019 6:41:46 PM

AMHERST — Andrew Rising Musgrave always thrived in gym class. So when his mother, Elizabeth Musgrave, received a call from her son’s middle school principal for disobedience during a swim session, she was confused. 

As it turned out, Andrew wasn’t causing any serious problems. Instead of swimming traditional straight-line laps, he independently opted for diagonal routes — just so he could give everyone in the pool a high-five.

“That was Andrew — that was who he was, always,” Elizabeth Musgrave said Friday of her son’s extroverted personality.

Andrew Musgrave, 31, was shot in the chest and killed outside a Holyoke McDonald’s late on the night of Aug. 3. A suspect, 19-year-old Dennis Guzman of Holyoke, was arrested in North Philadelphia days later on murder charges.

Described by many who knew him as “a force of nature,” Andrew Musgrave is remembered as a compassionate, inclusive, people-oriented, intelligent and positive person who saw the good in everyone.

He spent his youngest years growing up on the campus of the Walnut Hill School for the Arts in Natick, where his mother was a teacher. When he was 9 years old, his family moved to Amherst, where he graduated from Amherst Regional High School in 2006. 

If Andrew’s life was a map, then people were his landmarks, his mother said. Andrew truly cared about those around him, making friends with everyone he met. 

“Andrew was very charismatic. If he walked onto a playground, in no time flat, all of the kids would be gathered around Andrew. He was very social,” said his father, Alan Musgrave. 

Andrew’s older brother, David Musgrave, 34, said he was always the more “tentative” of the two. Andrew had such a lust for life, he said, that he would meet every opportunity with an enthusiasm that often pushed his brother out of his comfort zone.

“You can sense his passion and him caring about you. And so I think that that’s really attractive to people,” David said.

If there was someone new at a gathering, Andrew was the first to befriend them, David said. It didn’t matter who they were, or what their background was — Andrew wanted to embrace all of it. 

Andrew was a fierce defender of the underdog and a champion of inclusivity, his mother said. She recalled another call she received from his principal, when he got physical with a boy who was bullying another student with Asperger’s syndrome.

“There was nothing mean about him at all,” Elizabeth said. “But if somebody started picking on somebody, Andrew had no tolerance. None.”

One summer when Andrew was 13, David remembers the two of them walking around a flea market in Wellfleet where they saw a man selling Nazi artifacts.

“He started chewing this guy out about, ‘My friend is Jewish,’ and ‘How could you sell this stuff?’” he said. “And that’s how he was. He would stick up for anyone he knew. He would stick up for a stranger on the street.”

A close family friend, Ke’Rasha Smith, said that although Andrew didn’t subscribe to a particular denomination, he would try to pray twice every day at 11:11. Often, Smith said she would join him.

“He probably believed in the universe and the power of putting positive energy out there,” Smith said.

Above all, Andrew was committed to his family. Tattooed on his chest was the family crest of his mother, whose maiden name is Rising, and on his back was his father’s family crest. 

“He would always say, ‘My mom’s got my heart, and my dad’s got my back,’” Elizabeth said.

But what he considered his family transcended blood relationships.

After receiving a business degree from the University of Miami in Florida, Andrew completed the apprenticeship program of the New York City United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America and became a journeyman carpenter with Local Union 157. 

According to family, Andrew was proud of his union and the work they did together as laborers. A hard worker, Andrew helped build the World Trade Center Memorial & Museum, along with other New York City buildings. 

“That kind of band-of-brothers thing, he found that in the carpenters union,” David said. 

‘Starburst’

On Saturday morning, family and friends packed into the Grace Episcopal Church in Amherst for Andrew’s funeral services. 

At the service, Elizabeth related how 6-year-old Andrew responded after fracturing his ankle playing soccer with his brother. 

She had been outside on their screen porch in Natick when she noticed her son walking and balancing on top of their picket fence — one hand holding onto a nearby copper beech tree branch and one foot in his new cast. It didn’t take long for the young Musgrave’s antics to completely wear out the bottom of his protective mold.

“At the second replacement, the nurse told Andrew that if the cast had to be replaced again, the child would have to pay for it with his allowance,’” Elizabeth said. “It did not stop him. Walking was not a concept that Andrew had much time for. Why walk, when you can run, or hop, or skip or climb?”

During his homily, the Rev. Thomas N. Synan said that although he did not know Andrew, he could tell he had a personality like no other. 

“Hearing the stories that I’ve heard … what came to mind to me is a starburst, a person who is blessed, as I like to think of it, with a double portion of light,” he said. 

In lieu of flowers, Andrew’s parents instead asked that contributions be made to Cure Violence Global, an organization looking to use disease control and behavior-changing methods to reduce violence.

Gun violence in America is a problem that needs to be rectified, Elizabeth said. 

“I believe violence is like an illness,” she said. “And our country really needs curing. It’s an epidemic.”

Michael Connors can be reached at mconnors@gazettenet.com.

Jobs



Support Local Journalism


Subscribe to the Daily Hampshire Gazette, your leading source for news in the Pioneer Valley.


Daily Hampshire Gazette Office

115 Conz Street
Northampton, MA 01061
413-584-5000

 

Copyright © 2019 by H.S. Gere & Sons, Inc.
Terms & Conditions - Privacy Policy