Jocelyn Elberson; Photo Courtesy: Elberson family
TOWN OF TONAWANDA, NY- The community came together Friday night to remember one of the victims who lost her life after being struck by an alleged drunk motorcyclist on the Amherst Bike Path last weekend. In her short time here, friends and family say Jocelyn Elberson touched many lives.
The 25-year-old from Tonawanda was a daughter, a sister, an aunt, a Godmother, and a friend. She took on many roles in her short life, and yet could be described in just one world, joyful.
"Jocelyn stood for everything that was right in the world- Love and happiness and God," said Jocelyn's cousin Lauren.
"Jocelyn's ministry was one of great sensitivity, of great presence, of great wisdom, of great discernment, and of great gentleness," said Trish, a member of New Covenant Tabernacle.
Everyone attending her memorial service wore a double ribbon. Purple representing Jocelyn's favorite color, and red for Mothers Against Drunk Driving.
Jocelyn was killed Sunday while walking on the Amherst Bike Path with her mother, aunt and dogs. She was struck by a motorcycle driven by 53-year-old David Smith of Niagara Falls. Police say he was drunk and speeding. Also killed in the crash was 81-year-old Sheila Pelton of East Amherst. Her 79-year-old husband, Foster, was seriously injured.
"She had a dynamic family foundation and from there she could venture out and try new things on her terms and in her way," said Diane Bajdas, Jocelyn's aunt.
Jocelyn lived with Williams' Syndrome and just recently had open heart surgery. Still, she overcame many challenges, both in the classroom and in life, and she never let her disabilities stop her from finding happiness.
"She never ever let anything get her down and she really did make the best of everyday and everything," said Nicole Elberson, Jocelyn's sister-in-law.
Loved ones told story after story of Jocelyn opening her heart to others, whether it be children, animals, or even service members in the airport.
"For every one that she saw that came close to her, she would walk up to them and say, 'thank you for your service.' Every one. That's the type of person Jocey was," said Jocelyn's uncle, Gregg Bajdas.
Jocelyn's parents expressed their gratitude for the outpouring of love from the community.
"I want to thank you all for being there for us and I know in the coming weeks and months I'll probably lean on everybody for some time," said Kathleen Elberson, Jocelyn's mother.
Also in attendance at the memorial service were the children of Sheila and Foster Pelton. Two families brought together by immense tragedy.