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Friends and family celebrate Krissy's life

April 12, 2010|By HEATHER KEELS
  • Friends of Kristy Dawn Hoke, from left, Natasha Blickenstaff, Hector Diaz and Laura Blickenstaff were among dozens who gathered Sunday evening at City Park in Hagerstown for a candlelight vigil honoring Hoke, who died last week in an apparent stabbing.
By Joe Crocetta/Staff Photographer,

HAGERSTOWN -- Friends and family members who gathered at a candlelight vigil in Hagerstown's City Park on Sunday evening remembered Kristy Dawn Hoke for her smile, her devotion to her children, and her way of helping and uplifting those around her.

"She would want people to remember the fun, the love, the laughter and the caring that she gave to people other than herself," said Hoke's friend and neighbor Steve Jackson.

Hoke, 29, was found dead of an apparent stabbing last week in a wooded area in Waynesboro, Pa., Pennsylvania State Police said.

About 80 people gathered on a foot bridge in City Park at dusk Sunday for the vigil, which was organized by Hoke's friend, Wendy Churchey.

"We're not mourning Krissy today; we're celebrating her life," Churchey said. "She is in a better place, although she went there too soon."

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Participants held candles as they gathered around a framed collage of photos taken throughout Hoke's life and a portrait of her with her family.

The pictures leaned up against the stone wall of the bridge and yellow flower petals were strewn in front of them.

Hoke's brother, Gary Durboraw Jr., said his sister was always smiling, and liked to joke that she and Gary were "the best looking Durboraws in the family."

"I miss her," he said.

During the vigil, Lisa Mullendore sang "Rock of Ages," "Amazing Grace," "The Old Rugged Cross" and "Blessed Assurance."

In addition, Jackson sang "Get Rhythm" by Johnny Cash, a song he said he and Hoke loved.

Jackson, 49, said he and Hoke became friends when he moved into the neighborhood about seven months ago.

"Krissy was the type of person who would just barge into my house and say, 'Steve! What are you doing?'" he said.

She brought him breakfast and he drove her on errands when she didn't have a car, he said.

"She was so open, bubbly, happy-go-lucky," he said. "She would just lift your soul."

Jackson said Hoke was working to get her life on track, and recently got a new job and bought a car.

She was a "beautiful mother" and wanted the very best for her three children, he said.

After family, her devotion to her friends came in a close second.

"She was there when I was down," he said. "She'd be the first one there for me to hold my hand, to help me back up and to do what it took to make it better."

During a recent rough patch in Jackson's life, he said she gave him a card saying God was always with him and quoted the lyrics from "Get Rhythm."

"Which meant, 'Pick it up; be happy,'" he said.

Jackson said he didn't think Hoke would want people to cry about her death.

Still, Jackson said, sometimes he wishes the past week was a dream from which he could awaken.

"To lose somebody like Krissy Dawn has hit me and hurt me so hard because she was just a wonderful, beautiful person," he said.

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