Edmund Francis McGahey died attempting to save Raymond Nutbrown from drowning, Detroit, Michigan, July 16, 1930. Raymond, 8, fell from a retaining wall into deep water in the Detroit River. He rose to the surface four feet from the wall. Edmund, 13, schoolboy, who was fully clothed, plunged from the wall into the water as Raymond drifted farther from it in a current of 2 m.p.h. He swam a few feet to Raymond and got hold of him. After a brief struggle, both sank and were drowned.
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In the heart of Edmund McGahey was a true understanding of stewardship; in his child’s breast, that fine courage which leads men to die.
Edmund is dead today, but his spirit is of that quality which is everlasting. He was drowned on July 16, 1930, in the Detroit River at the foot of Burns Avenue with the body of Raymond Nutbrown, 8 years old, locked tight to his breast. His mother had told him to take care of Raymond, and he died in his attempt to live up to his responsibility.
Edmund, 13 years old, lived with his mother and father, Mr. and Mrs. Edmund McGahey, and three brothers, at 2463 Parker Avenue. Upstairs lived Mr. and Mrs. Reginald Nutbrown, parents of Raymond, their only child.
On July 10, Raymond’s mother died. The father took her back to her former home, a little town near Quebec (Canada), to bury her. He left Raymond with an aunt, Miss Lydia Nutbrown, who rooms at his home. On July 16, Raymond went to Edmund while the older boy carried his paper route. After this work was done, they were going to Owen Park to play. Before they left, Mrs. McGahey called Edmund to her. “Remember,” she said, “we are taking care of Raymond. You must be responsible for him. You must take good care of him and see that nothing happens.”
With Raymond and Edmund was Alfred Smith, 13. At Owen Park, the plan was to catch minnows. The boys clung to the concrete breakwater and reached down and dipped them up. Raymond reached too far. He lost his hold and slipped into the deep water. The current grasped him and whirled him outward. Alfred, unable to swim, ran for help.
Edmund did not hesitate. He was a good swimmer. And he had promised to take care of Raymond. He leaped into the water with his clothes on and reached the drowning boy. Raymond wrapped his arms about Edmund’s neck and bore him down. Together they died. And a trust was fulfilled.
(Edited from an article in The Detroit News, July 17, 1930.)