Born on May 6, 1986, Megan Elizabeth Garbach is the 4th of five children of loving parents, Kathy and Ray Garbach. She was a beloved daughter, sister, fiancé, aunt, niece, cousin, and friend. Meg brought a ray of sunshine into every life she touched. Selfless, loving, giving, faithful, free-spirited, loyal, creative, silly, witty and "champion of the underdog" – these are some words that others have used to describe her. She found joy in the simple things of life and cherished her relationship with nature and the environment.
Ray is fond of saying that Meg’s smile could light up any room. The inscription found on two benches in Highland Park best describe Megan; "Her smile mirrored her soul." That beautiful bright smile however did not always reflect how she felt inside. And at times Megan struggled to love herself in the same way she loved others.
"Her smile mirrored her soul."
Meg worked as a waitress and hostess while in high school and college, played lacrosse, and graduated from SUNY Albany with a degree in Earth & Atmospheric Science. She toured Europe with friends, spent time in Australia with her fiancé, and returned to Rochester to work in a civil engineering firm as an environmental consultant and project manager. She performed her job responsibilities with competence and was well-liked and respected by her professional colleagues.
Sadly, on President’s Day, February 17, 2014, at the age of 27, Meg lost her battle with depression. Her family and friends promised that the manner of her death would not define how she was known in life. Rather, she will always be remembered by the gifts she gave to the world during her lifetime.
These gifts are embodied in many touching stories shared about Meg -- sitting with a lonely boy on the school bus that had no friends, making and distributing peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to the homeless in downtown Albany, and donating countless pints of blood to the Red Cross in the hope of saving lives.
That spirit of giving, so prominent in Megan’s life, inspired the creation of MEG’s Gift, a 501(c)3 nonprofit public charity that supports, promotes and advocates for the care and treatment of persons with mental illness.