Hundreds Gather to Remember Kate and Kerri Allen
Mother and daughter celebrated at memorial service
An overflow crowd of about 300 friends, relatives, teachers and classmates remembered Kate and Kerri Allen at a memorial service today, recalling both mother and daughter as cheerful and helpful.
"She was just an angel. A sweet, caring kid," said Charlene Bakalar, Kerri's fourth-grade teacher at Chapman Elementary School.
Pastor David Anderson of St. Matthew Evangelical Lutheran Church said he knew Kate since she was about 10, when she used to attend services at First Lutheran Church of Strongsville, often volunteering to babysit during choir practice.
She was so selfless, he once asked her if she would consider becoming a pastor.
"I think she would have been a good one," Anderson said.
A single urn sat at the front of the church, containing the ashes of both Kate and Kerri Allen, who were killed by Kevin Allen April 12 at the Cracker Barrel restaurant in Brooklyn.
Kerri's sister, Kayla, a fifth-grader at Chapman, was also shot by her father and remains in critical condition at MetroHealth Medical Center.
There were a number of Chapman students at the service, many weeping quietly.
"I was in Kerri's class," said Andrew Schaeffer. "She was nice."
Anderson urged the mourners not to lose faith even though the tragedy seems senseless.
"I do not believe that what happened last Thursday night had anything to do with God's will," he said. "I do not believe everything happens for a reason. Evil happened last Thursday night. That is not of God."
Michelle Jindra, whose husband, Carl, is Kate's brother, read a short message from Kevin Allen's parents, who live in Kansas City and did not attend the memorial service because of health problems.
They said Kerri was "full of life, bubbly and always happy" and Kate was a good mother.
"She was a sweet and wonderful person and we love her dearly, too," the Allens' message said.
Chapman Principal Andy Trujillo said the school will host a remembrance ceremony for Kerri soon, but details haven't yet been ironed out.
Funds have been set up for Kayla. A Facebook page has been set up for the Kayla Allen Benefit Fund with a link to a PayPal account.
Donations can also be made at any Fifth Third Bank branch or mailed to Fifth Third Bank, care of Kayla Allen Benefit Fund, 4023 Center Rd., Brunswick, 44212.