Friends, family of David Grubbs set public benefit memorial

Friends and family members of David Michael Grubbs want the community to join them for a celebration of the life of the 23-year-old who was brutally murdered on a stretch of Ashland's bike path two years ago on Tuesday.

All proceeds will go toward expanding the David Grubbs Memorial Ashland High School Scholarship and increasing the reward fund for information leading to the arrest of his killer. The fund currently stands at about $22,500.

"We set up the scholarship for music students who want to continue their studies," said Grubbs' mother, Cherie. "We thought it was appropriate to support a music student, because music was such a huge part of David's life. We thought it was just going to be a one-time thing until this benefit idea "¦ the response from the community has been amazing."

The benefit will kick off at 11 a.m. and run until 6 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 23, inside Club 66, 1951 Ashland St., Ashland. It will include food and drinks made to order by the restaurant and live music provided by Fire in the Northwest, Allen and Bobbi Campbell, Jeff Stanley, Jef and Dee Fretwell and Sylent Storm. Club 66 has agreed to donate back $1 for every meal sold during the benefit.

"It has been phenomenal how everybody responded," said Garrison Mau, who was David Grubbs' best friend.

Mau and Grubbs met at Ashland High School when Mau was a sophomore and Grubbs was a freshman. Through music, video games and conversation, the two formed a lasting friendship. Mau was the first person to get the red asterisk symbol of American funk-rock band Red Hot Chili Peppers tattooed on himself in memory of his best friend. More than a dozen other friends and family members of Grubbs followed suit, receiving their own versions of the tattoo he and Mau had always planned to get together.

Sunday, Mau was selling raffle tickets for the benefit in front of Ashland Shop'n Kart, where he and Grubbs worked together.

Raffle tickets for the benefit will be sold throughout the week outside Shop'n Kart, the Music Coop, Club 66 and Caldera Brewing Co. in south Ashland, Mau said. The cost of a raffle ticket is $2 or three for $5, and attendance is not required to win.

"People can show up and they don't have to buy anything, they can just be there to show support," Cherie Grubbs said. "We'll keep it fairly mellow during the day and family-friendly."

A long list of prizes donated by local business will be raffled away during the benefit celebration, which will take place on what would have been David Grubbs' 26th birthday. (Correction: This story has been updated to reflect the age Grubbs would have turned this year.)

"It's a celebration of the music he played and loved," said Mau, who expects the celebration's volume level to increase as the day unfolds. "We'll probably keep it going after everything ends at 6 "¦ and we'll try to get everyone together for a jam."

Grubbs primarily played bass guitar, but he also played upright bass in the Ashland High School orchestra, the Youth Symphony of Southern Oregon and the high school's advanced jazz band, his mother said.

The $500 David Grubbs Memorial Ashland High School Scholarship has only been handed out once before, she said, but she hopes this benefit will raise enough money to support several students each year.

She said friends and family are working to ensure that the memorial scholarship is established in perpetuity. Currently, there is no 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization set up to manage the scholarship account, Cherie Grubbs said.

So for now, money raised for the scholarship at the benefit will be distributed only in $500 increments, she said. Anything left over will be donated to the reward fund, she said.

"We hope the whole community will come," Cherie Grubbs said. "People miss him."

Investigators said David Grubbs, who'd been walking home from his job as a grocery clerk at Shop'n Kart, did not appear to make any defensive moves against his attacker, and that his wallet and money were left in his pocket.

An autopsy showed that the murderer used a weapon with a medium-to-large blade and attempted to decapitate the 23-year-old, police said.

After considering hundreds of tips, interviewing nearly 2,000 people and analyzing hundreds of hours of surveillance footage collected from businesses around Ashland, police now say there are no active leads, and the case has turned cold.

Sam Wheeler is a freelance writer living in Ashland. Email him at

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