CHARLOTTE, N.C. (The Charlotte Observer) - Mourners packed the expansive sanctuary of Hickory Grove Baptist Church on Tuesday for the funeral of popular Piper Glen golf pro Daniel Meggs. But the person who was so much on the minds of those in attendance was one who couldn’t be seen: his unborn son, Davis.
Meggs’ wife, Jordan, is due to give birth in about three weeks.
Well-wishers hugged her with care as they filed through the receiving line to pay their respects before her husband’s funeral.
Daniel Meggs died in his South Charlotte home on Friday at age 29. He had captured Charlotte hearts when he shared his story of being diagnosed with Stage IV colon cancer two weeks before his 2017 wedding. Tiger Woods was one of the many people offering him encouragement, as did Jack Nicklaus
On Tuesday, the church held many of the same people who attended the couple’s wedding, dabbing their eyes as Jordan Meggs leaned over to kiss Daniel one last time.
Photos flashed above her — snapshots of Daniel and Jordan’s high school sweetheart days at Butler High, Daniel, with his arm proudly around Jordan’s shoulder at her graduation from N.C. State University.
There were pictures from vacations, their beach boardwalk engagement, weddings and just goofy poses. And although the hairstyles changed in their more than a decade together, there were two constants: Daniel’s gaze at Jordan, her beaming smile.
Their marriage had no picture-perfect beginning.
Instead of going on a honeymoon, Daniel went to the hospital for chemo. As they fought his cancer with rounds of grueling treatments and trips to Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City, they hoped for a miracle.
“We just stood and watched how you and Daniel lived out what it means to persevere under trial,” said Hickory Grove Senior Pastor Clint Pressley on Tuesday, looking straight at Jordan Meggs.
“This is not how most young married couples start,” he said. “Most start with sunshine and rainbows and everything’s wonderful.
“You guys started with dark clouds, and those dark clouds were fixed as a backdrop,” Pressley said. “And honestly, on that backdrop, you guys have painted a masterpiece of courage and steadfastness and love and the relentless pursuit of joy.”
At one point when he was battling his illness last spring, Daniel Meggs’ friend of two decades, PGA tour pro Harold Varner III of Gastonia, asked a fellow golfer for a favor.
That golfer was Woods, who recorded an inspirational video for Meggs just a few days before winning the Masters.
“I just want to let you know I’m pulling for you. Stay strong, keep fighting, that’s the most important thing,” Woods said on the video that Jordan had shared on Instagram.
“Never give up hope. You’re an inspiration to all of us.”
Daniel Meggs’ sister, Brittany Rauch, laughed Tuesday as she described the time her little brother called her at college and persuaded her to call Butler High so he could cut class.
Jordan Meggs’ sister, Kristi Miller, verbalized the struggle to make sense of the why: Why Daniel died so young and why he will never meet his son.
“Maybe this is God’s way of letting Daniel meet his son the way he would have wanted — on his terms,” Miller said.
“Daniel didn’t want Davis to meet him at his weakest state, or have his introduction be burdened with pain,” Miller said, “but to be full of all the warmth and love he’ll continue to bestow upon him and Jordan and our families from Heaven.”
Heaven was much on Meggs’ mind in the years since he learned he had cancer, Pressley said.
He read a text Meggs had sent his dad, Doug, not long after his diagnosis.
“I’m not worried about my hair, I’m not worried about feeling bad, I’m not even worried about dying,” Pressley read. “I just pray that if I’m able to live, I will be able to have as much of an effect on people as if I’d died.”
Pressley paused. The sanctuary went silent.
Pressley continued reading the text.
“You guys will touch so many people if I die. So when I live, I’m going to make a difference. ... It’s a blessing to have something so serious enough to make me refocus and do great things going forward.”
Pressley looked out into the crowd and asked: “Can you imagine?”