By BETHANY BLITZ
Only the flicker of candles illuminated the faces of friends and family members of Kelly Pease Saturday night at the vigil held in her honor.
Parents, children, siblings and friends embraced one another as they passed a microphone to share stories about their beloved Kelly.
The mother of five was found dead in a car March 8 at Kootenai Health. The 37-year-old was a nursing student at North Idaho College. Her ex-fiancé, Steven Denson, 61, was wanted on suspicion of killing Pease but apparently took his own life when confronted by law enforcement the following day.
“She was the shining star of my life,” said Scott Isbell, Pease’s father. “I’m so proud of her and all the hard work she did and all of her accomplishments. With everything that was going against her, she kept trying.”
The vigil, held in the parking lot of Kootenai Health, started with a few songs by John Mayer, since Pease loved his music. The song “Daughters” played first and everyone quietly mouthed the words: “Fathers, be good to your daughters. Daughters will love like you do. Girls become lovers, who turn into mothers. So mothers, be good to your daughters too.”
Friend after co-worker after relative told stories about how Pease could do anything: She once fixed a broken-down car with a hair-tie; she was the most compassionate nurse out there; she was an incredible mother, not only to her own children, but to anyone who needed some food, inspiration, love or care.
“She was so close to fulfilling her dream [at nursing school],” said Annette Weyland, a friend who worked with Pease at Ivy Court, a nursing home in Coeur d’Alene. “She was born to be a nurse. She was a beautiful person who always fought to do the right thing.”
Pease’s daughter, Gabby Pease, also spoke about abusive relationships. She said her mother did everything right and only one person was to blame for her death. She added that she and her family won’t stop fighting against domestic violence.
“Every person that had anything to do in her life, we all got to experience my mom’s love in full force,” Gabby said.
Carissa Thelin said Pease was like a second mother to her.
“To know she’s gone, it seems fake. But it’s real,” the young girl said. “She was the sunshine in everyone’s lives. I don’t know how we’re going to get through this, but we’ll do it together.”