Family, friends gather at park where Rachelle Baskey shot to death
The size of the crowd that turned out Saturday to mourn the death of Rachelle Lynn "Baby" Baskey, 24, didn't surprise the woman's father.
"In this world, there's very few people who have a ray of light," said Paul Baskey. "She was one of those people who glowed."
Rachelle Baskey was shot to death July 27 by a boyfriend, Larry Barnett Jr., who shot her in Lions Park in Sandusky. Barnett then killed himself.
A series of events to mourn Baskey began at 10 a.m. Saturday with a memorial service at Wonderly Horvath Hanes Funeral Home and Crematory in Fremont.
About 100 people jammed inside the funeral home for a service officiated by Deacon James Hammer.
"Our sister Rachelle was suddenly taken from us," Hammer said.
The mourners, led by a group riding motorcycles that included Paul Baskey, then formed a procession to Lions Park. Flowers, the urn containing Baskey's ashes, a photograph of Baskey and other memorabilia were placed on the shore, and then a friend of Paul Baskey's, Jim Sprague, got up to speak.
"There are no words that can console a parent at this time," Sprague noted as Paul Baskey and Rachelle's mother, Cheryl Baskey, listened.
"A week ago, something horrendous happened," Sprague said. "There have been tears, thoughts and prayers across this whole state."
"Now is not the time for blame and hate," Sprague said. "It is a time for healing."
Sprague is director for Region Seven of ABATE, American Bikers Aimed Towards Education. Paul Baskey is events coordinator for the organization.
"I do a lot of public speaking on behalf of ABATE and Paul asked me to speak today," Sprague said.
After Sprague spoke, red, white and pink balloons were released into the air, one by one. The balloons, which had cards with memories of Rachelle Baskey attached to them, soared into the blue sky and floated off to the west, pushed by the wind.
The crowd then lined up their motorcycles and cars and rode to The Pump Bar and Grill on Ohio 4, where Rachelle had worked for about a year and a half as a bartender popular with the tavern's customers. She acquired the "Baby" nickname working there, her father said. A covered dish lunch was set out inside the Pump as family and friends celebrated her life.