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David and Sharree were taken from this earth by a drunk driver, while bicycling with friends after a Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans on Saturday March 2, 2019.
Seventeen times over six blocks, the driver careened into a person, a bike or a car before crashing and running to escape. His blood alcohol level was 3 times the legal limit. It was at 8:00 pm on the driver’s 32nd birthday. He sent 5 people into emergency critical care. He killed handsome 31 year old David Hynes, and he killed beautiful 27 year old Sharree Walls.
David made this world a better place. His devotion to consciously nurturing relationships remains inspirational. He was loving and generous. Always willing and able to take a leadership role, he was also an outstanding team player. David was smart and curious, gracious, charming and considerate. He'd tell strangers "good looking dog" just to make their day brighter. He'd find the awkward person at a party to chat with. "Compliments are free", he told a buddy, " I can give out however many I want in this life!"
Sharree lived to create “tangible change” within her entire sphere of influence. She was a peacemaker and wanted everyone to get along. Sharree achieved success beyond her years yet she stayed humble and sweet. She was physically beautiful with a gorgeous smile and laughter that lit up your soul. She was playful, fun-loving, positive, encouraging, and always motivating any and every one to be all they could be. She seemed to thrive not only on her own success but those of others. And she judged herself by her own standards. She always looked for ways to be better, do better, and make an impact.
David and Sharree graduated from the University of Pennsylvania cum laude and magna cum laude, respectively. David furthered his education by attending Tulane Law School graduating magna cum laude. Sharree also studied abroad at the Universidade Federal da Bahia in San Salvador, Brazil, where her studies included Brazilian Culture and Portuguese. David and Sharree had bright and lively minds, meaninglessly snatched away by their senseless deaths.
David volunteered for JDRF to fight type 1 diabetes (a challenge he faced since 13), the Southern Environmental Law Center and the Tulane Environmental Law Society. He was published in Green Justice Symposium, Tulane Environmental Law Journal, DRI, and The Voice of the Defense Bar. Both David and Sharree were involved with Habitat for Humanity and Friends of Lafitte Greenway, dedicated to creating safe places for bike riding in New Orleans.
Sharree engaged in many other philanthropic and service organizations including a Fellowship with the YMCA of Greater New Orleans and the New Orleans’ chapter of Global Shapers where she served as co-chair and, along with some 400 others, attended a global summit in Geneva, Switzerland to address world issues such as poverty and global warming. She had the honor of being interviewed by CNN at this summit. Her last position was as the Executive Director of Emerging Philanthropists of New Orleans (EPNO), a non-profit that educates young leaders to become lifelong philanthropists and grants funds to community organizations. She was also an active member of Alpha Phi Alpha sorority.
David met the love of his life, Jorie Kirschbaum, in New Orleans. Their beautiful wedding was in November, 2017 in Audubon Park. Their happiness together and love towards each other was tangible in person and in photos. They moved to Seattle for Jorie's graduate school and adopted a rescue dog from Louisiana. David had just started working for a law firm and felt both appreciated and challenged. He was set to meet Jorie in NOLA for his friend's wedding.
David adored exploring the world, especially Australia, Barcelona, Cascais and Thailand. He loved hiking and being in nature with his wife. David was a foodie who savored gourmet restaurants, crawfish boils and street food. He loved to cook and share meals and drinks with friends. He relished music and dancing. David delighted in scuba diving, snorkeling, skiing and ping pong.
Sharree grew up in Chicago, but after school moved to New Orleans to begin her career in philanthropy. Sharree was quite the “social butterfly” making a point to attend friend’s weddings and family reunions as well as travel with her sorority sisters. She too traveled the world to places like the Caribbean, South America, and Europe. She loved to paint and write. She painted her own self-portrait and led a creative arts club. She had an online blog and her biography, poetry, and writings appear in various publications. She really loved dancing to the music of the 80’s and ran a cross country marathon. She also loved designing clothes and made several of her Mardi Gras costumes.
It was David and Sharree’s mutual interests that brought them together as friends, and on the evening of their tragic end, they were engaged in two things they loved, Mardi Gras and bicycling.
David and his mom had partnered to bring his invention, HoverStash, to market. As a sweet son David was always cheerful when giving his mom IT support and enjoyed putting interesting and eclectic music on her iPad, everything from opera to rap, from chill jazz to Indian Bollywood.
His buddies, both girls and guys, now tell his mom how David often said he loved them. He always called people, rather than text for a birthday or special event, because keeping in touch with people he loved was important. He sent “pupdates” (pix of his new dog) to his good buddies, often regardless of their professing to be too busy to look at them. "So sorry, but you're never too busy for joy!....pupdate time!”'
Sharree owned her own home furnishings business, Solace Space, LLC where she sold custom-made pillows with messages like “Love and Peace” or photos of the New Orleans jazz scene. In an interview, she explained that she wanted to create something that was very personal to her individual customer to make their home space a reflection of who they are.
She was a pleasure to raise and brought so much contentment to her mom’s life. Her mom loved that she was kind, yet feisty; that she was gentle, yet bold, but, sometimes scared; that she was sensitive, yet strong. She shunned drama and confusion and if confronted with such, worked tirelessly for a positive solution. She adored her parents and loved her family seeking every opportunity to come home and visit and often told her mom how she wished she could be closer. Her friends describe her as a diplomat, counselor, and leader who was intentional, inventional, compassionate, fun-loving, and kind.
David was wearing one of his favorite pineapple tee-shirts when his life was taken. The pineapple symbolizes "welcome” and hospitality, as well as friendship, generosity, and social warmth and graciousness. Pineapples spontaneously appeared around the tree near the crash and at David’s white ghost bike. A stone pineapple is in the community garden created in memory of David and Sharree.
Sharree wore the “NOLA” flowered headband so popular at Mardi Gras with an ocean-blue sequined top when her life was taken. She and David would pose one last time together as ordinary friends laughing in the moment. Both of us mothers will treasure this picture of them together forever. An angel is in the same community garden in memory of Sharree.
David's mother's neighbors were kind enough to honor David with a bench at her condo. The inscription on it reads:
David Joseph Hynes
Recipe For Life
Spread Love, Sprinkle Joy
The words from Sharree’s favorite poem embody her zest for life:
What made the beauty of the moon?
And the beauty of the sea?
Did that beauty make you?
Did that beauty make me?
Will that make me something?
Will I be something?
Am I something?
And the answer comes:
Already am, always was, and I still have time to be.
Written in loving memory by the mothers of Sharree Walls and David Hynes: Lois Benjamin and Anne Kimmel