TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT)– More than 1,100 people filled Northridge Church, in Sabetha, Monday morning to say goodbye to Carmen and Marlee Ukele.
“I don’t know how to start a service like this, this is a service we shouldn’t be having,” Pastor Charles Robinson said as the service began.
Lives cut short by a head on collision on highway 75, after a memorable night and a state football championship.
“We remember how precious people are,” Pastor Robinson said. “How precious life is. We never know when life will be taken.”
Carmen, Marlee and Steve Ukele lost their lives that night. On Monday, almost 1,200 people paid their final respects.
“My most heartbreaking moment was seeing the boys just practically lay over into the casket and hug their mom and then see a father bury a child and grandchild,” Pastor Robsinson said. “It’s difficult because its not natural.”
And the Ukele boys are missing their dad too. He’s still in ICU with serious injuries.
But even though he wasn’t physically there, for a silent moment he was at the center of everyone’s thoughts.
“While we are here celebrating Carmen and Marlee, Lee is still in the hospital with a tube down his throat helping him breath,” Pastor Robinson said. “I would like to lead us in prayer for lee specifically, so would you all join me in prayer.”
People of the community say hard days are ahead but their support for this family will never end.
Pastor Robinson tells KSNT News that while Lee Ukele is still in the ICU, the last two days have been better for him — and he is heading down the right path to getting home.