At Saturday’s funeral service for the 19-year-old Rock Hill woman killed in what police say was a “random” attack, the pastor for Illumine Church had one message for mourners: Nothing can separate Karson Whitesell from her God’s love.
“I want really bad to answer all the questions you’re going to have,” the Rev. Kent Reeder said, his voice breaking. “But as a pastor, I will always point you to the love of God.”
The small Rock Hill church hosted more than 400 people, including Whitesell’s parents and boyfriend, coming together to remember a woman they say put others first.
Whitesell’s friend Natalie Childs spoke Saturday morning, remembering a time her mother saw Whitesell walking down the road to bring a meal to a homeless man.
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Whitesell had already given the man money, Childs said, but Whitesell thought she could do more, and walked back to buy him a meal.
Another friend, Shelby Hinnant, said she knew Whitesell since first grade.
“She was my favorite person to talk to because she always knew what to say and could make me laugh without even trying,” Hinnant said.
Hinnant said she is thankful to see the community coming together in support of Whitesell. She said she and Whitesell were “inseparable.”
“We’ve been planning to do things our whole lives and now I want to accomplish them all,” she said.
Whitesell spent the summer volunteering in Swaziland and South Africa, according to her friends. A gofundme account has been set up in her name to continue her work constructing permanent shade structures for communities in Africa.
The goal is to construct 19 structures – one for each year of Whitesell’s life, according to the gofundme post.
The account has raised $24,466 out of a $38,000 goal as of 2:30 p.m. Saturday.
“You helped change the world,” Childs said at the funeral service.
Hannah Smoot: 803-329-4068