She was a hockey player, a makeup aficionado, had a generous heart, a “one-in-a-million smile” and she’ll be missed by many.
Alexandra “Alley” Nyuli, 21, was laid to rest at a ceremony at Willow Park church Saturday. The funeral, which paid homage to a short but impactful life, attracted hundreds of people who knew the young women as well as hundreds of emergency service workers.
Alexandra’s father, Curtis Nyuli, is the chief of the Joe Rich fire department and as such, was one of the first to arrive at her vehicle after it had plummeted down a snow covered ravine Jan. 28.
The story of a father having to tend to his own daughter in a horrific and fatal car crash sent shockwaves through the community of Joe Rich and beyond, and the Nyuli family has been overwhelmed by the support it sparked.
When he spoke at his daughter’s ceremony, Curtis Nyuli offered a little insight into what that looked like.
Beyond the assistance he received at the crash scene from his fellow firefighters, a couple of days later the family was looking for Alexandra’s phone and they stepped up again.
Three to four hours after taking on the task they showed up at his door.
They said “We had to rappel down a quarter of the mountain to get the phone, but we got it” he told the crowd, explaining how surprised and humbled he was to have their help.
Beyond the fire department, there has been more support from the community, in the form of calls, emails, Facebook messages and much more.
“It’s mind boggling… it makes a big difference in our mourning,” Nyuli said.
Also making a difference in that process was the send off the family decided to give Alexandra.
“Naturally as parents you expect to one day… put on a big celebration for them, especially if they’re girls,” he said. “It’s usually a wedding. Unfortunately that’s not going to happen.”
Instead, Alexandra’s life was celebrated by all the people who loved her in a ceremony that included speeches, a video montage and music on a stage with the hockey gear, scrubs and memorabilia she loved.
Laughter rang out through the church numerous times as family and friends recalled special moments with the young woman.
Her casket was taken from the church atop a Joe Rich fire engine, and a pipe band led the way to the funeral home.