A week after 30-year-old cyclist Kristie Crowder was hit and killed by a car in Plaza Midwood, her family is honoring her memory.
Channel 9′s Anthony Kustura went to speak with Crowder’s parents and sister to learn more about who she was, the impact she left on her community and how the family is adjusting to a new normal.
“We’re doing good,” Buddy Crowder, Kristie’s father told Kustura. “Kaitlin has come up with ‘three-fourths’ as our family hashtag now because there’s three of us -- we’re missing something now.”
Crowder, who was born and raised in Morganton, made a life for herself in the Queen City. She graduated from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and worked as a Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools math teacher before starting her own photography business.
Crowder’s mom, Pam, said her daughter had quite the travel bug.
“I’m glad that we have all of these wonderful memories of her to cherish and look back on,” Pam Crowder said.
She describes her daughter as someone who made everyone feel special.
“She tried to treat everybody with love, with kindness and make them feel like they’re the only one in the room,” she said.
Then, the worst happened. On Jan. 5, police said a car was driving on The Plaza when it hit Crowder on her bike near the intersection of Hamorton Place. No charges have been filed in the case.
“We bought it for her for Christmas,” Buddy Crowder said about the bike.
He said she was excited about it because she felt free when she biked.
“She said ‘well dad when I get out I just feel freedom, it’s the wind in my hair and I think it’s really going to help me mentally to just be out and be free,’” he said.
He told Kustura the day Kristie died was also his birthday.
“She passed away on my birthday and so now, we’ll celebrate my earthly birthday and her heavenly birthday on the same day,” Buddy Crowder said.
An outpouring of support
What Kristie’s family didn’t realize was the impact their daughter had on the people and community around her.
After she died, a GoFundMe with a goal of $30,000 was started in Crowder’s honor. It has already raised around $22,000.
“She made an impact, and it’s humbling to see those people react the way they have,” said Buddy Crowder.
Kristie’s decision to be an organ donor amplified that impact. Her heart, lungs, liver and kidneys were donated after her death. Lifeshare Carolinas helped coordinate the donations.
Now, the Crowder family is focused on preserving Kristie’s legacy. They’re asking friends and family to share memories and photos with the tag #LiveLikeKristie. Crowder’s sister said the tag is therapeutic.
“I like the hashtag because I feel like she’s still living with us every time we use it,” Kaitlin Crowder said.
The Crowders said they are determined to live their lives to the fullest, just like Kristie did.
“We’ll keep her spirit alive, she won’t be forgotten. Ever,” her father said.
There’s a public memorial service Kristie Crowder from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday at the Heritage Funeral Service in Valdese. Click here for details.
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