SYRACUSE — Thousands came to Wawasee High School to celebrate the lives of Kim Conrad and her son Stephen Conrad II Wednesday evening, Jan. 4. Not only for the visitation but for a celebration which began at 6 p.m.
Many waited for hours to visit with the family, some never getting the opportunity as visitation was stopped at 5 p.m. and seating began for the evening services. A time for visitation was held following the services.
Photographs of their lives, flowers, memorial stones, tapestries lined the east side of the gymnasium with red poinsettias set around the gymnasium.
When the services started bleachers along the west side of the gymnasium were filled on the main and upper seating areas. More people filled the seating at the north end of gym and a few seated in the upper east side of the gym.
Dr. Kenneth Webster, father of Kim and grandfather of Stephen, conducted the celebration. The celebration was a time of sharing the love they had for everyone, their helpfulness and caring for others. Humorous stories and their love of teaching, helping others, befriending everyone they met, and the greatness in their walks of life were also shared.
Webster divided the celebration into two portions, one focusing on his daughter, the other on his grandson. He shared a few of his many memories and a poem he had written for her eight years earlier. He also shared the joy he had of having his daughter introduce him to the staff of Wawasee Community Schools his first day as superintendent in the 1980s. His wife, Daret, shared the closeness of the blended family and the part Kim had in their lives.
Memories and an insight of the special woman Kim was and how she touched lives were shared by close friend Cindy Kaiser, former Syracuse Elementary Principal Jim Garner and WCSC Assistant Superintendent Joy Goshert. Garner encouraged audience participation asking for a show of hands of those who had her as a teacher, whose children had her as a teacher and those who were friends. He also read a few statements about the lives of Kim asking the crowd to participate by responding with the comment Kim will always be remembered as saying “All Is Good.”
An opportunity was given for those attending to share memories. Memories were shared by Andrew Mock, Holly Tuttle, Gary Green and Nate Miller bringing tears and laughter.
Webster shared memories of his grandson of taking him to golf tournaments, looking at colleges in Florida and the joy of watching all three of his grandsons winning their divisions in two golf tournaments. Remembrances of Stephen were also shared by his brother Michael, Creighton Kaiser and Scott Beasley. His love of golf and sports were shared, mostly golf stories. The way he lived his life was shared and having the opportunity to live his dream.
During the public time of sharing Clint Beasley, Kyle Lantz and Martha Stoelting also shared their memories of Stephen – as a golfer, a basketball player and a young elementary student.
Katie Conrad, daughter-in-law and sister-in-law, shared thoughts on behalf of the family. She summed up the loving and caring individuals the two were. “Words do not adequately describe what our family has experienced the last two weeks. There are few words for hurt like this. Kim and Stephen were the foundation of our family … they really loved people … the lives they have touched is incredible … our family is broken, we’re hurting and we don’t know how to get through something like this but we are faithful with prayer and we know that God is beside us.”
She thanked everyone for the outpouring of prayer and support. “We are so truly blessed by each and every one of you. Hug your family a little bit tighter, take care of the ones you love, be good to people.”
Webster noted memorial golf outings will be held in Arizona each year and at Maxwelton in honor of Stephen with the proceeds going to the Kim and Stephen Scholarship Fund, established at Lake City Bank. The scholarship will be given to Wawasee High School seniors involved in golf, basketball, gymnastics and cheerleading.
Pianist Anthony Beer provided musical selections prior to the service and during the service.
In the words of Kim Conrad “It’s all good.”