Nearly 200 people attended a memorial walk for Suzette Nellis Wednesday afternoon along the bike trail that runs parallel to the Allegheny River and First Street in Oil City.
Nellis was found dead on the trail last week.
Thursday her friends and family gathered for a memorial service followed by walking en mass a mile of that trail Nellis frequented.
"There were a number of people in the congregation that were hurting and grieving and many of them would say 'I need to do something'," Good Hope Lutheran Pastor Sandra Jones said Wednesday after the walk that went from the marina boat launch to the access point near The Derrick and Penelec and back.
Jones said roughly 180 people attended the walk organized on short notice.
"We chose this day because this morning was her memorial service, so it just seemed to make sense to follow a very emotional and powerful worship service with this walk," Jones said. They are planning to do more events to remember Nellis and to raise awareness of the concerns about violence, especially violence against women in the community and to push for increased safety.
Nellis' long-time friend YWCA director Jennifer Friedhaber said she believes Jones' ideas are great.
"This is a big community thing. We are all hurting and grieving and afraid and we need to do this for everybody," Friedhaber said. "It's about doing more, about getting people together in groups to walk and, it is our hope to continue this (awareness campaign) in Suzette’s memory."
"Suzette was the lead person for the Good Hope prayer chain," Jones said. "She was a prayer warrior. When she walked on the trail she would pray for those on the prayer list and when she got home she would check her list to make sure she prayed for every single person. That was the kind of person she was."
Jones said that is why there was a large response on Wednesday.
"She was one of the finest, kindest most lovely people anyone could ever meet. Everyone liked her and she liked everyone. And I suppose if she didn’t like someone, she was wise enough to keep that to herself," Jones chuckled.
(This story was edited for grammar and clarity since being posted.)
Sandra K Jones
4/6/2023 09:32:27 am
Thank you for the excellent coverage and photos of our We Walk for Suzette event! We hope to continue to honor her memory and to strive for safety and peace in our community.
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