An orange glow illuminated the front porch of the home where Jacqueline Crayton lived and died.
The flames from dozens of candles lit the small shrine of balloons, flowers, stuffed animals and crosses that were brought by family and friends during a vigil honoring Crayton.
“We are here for — do I say a celebration — a legacy of a life well lived,” long-time family friend Patricia Reddix said at the beginning of the event.
Dozens of people filled the yard and spilled out into the street to pay their respects to the woman they once knew.
“You get full of emotion because of the way she died,” Reddix said. “To leave this earth in the fashion she did, that is just so heartbreaking and tragic. Even though, as the pastor said, turn tragedy into triumph and that is what I will continue to pray for for (the granddaughter).”
Police say the skeletal remains found in the home Crayton shared with her daughter and granddaughter in the 900 block of Anderson Street are most likely hers.
Seguin Police Chief Terry Nichols said they believe that Crayton died about three years ago after falling, suffering non-life-threatening injuries, and being left on the floor.
Crayton’s daughter, Delissa Crayton, was charged with child abuse for allegedly forcing her daughter, who was younger than the age of 15 at the time of Jacqueline Crayton’s death, to live in the home with a corpse, Nichols said.
Neighbors and friends surrounded the family on Tuesday during the small ceremony.
“We want it to be where it’s minimum pain, even though I know the pain is there,” Reddix told Jacqueline’s family. “I can’t feel your pain, but I empathize and I sympathize with your pain. As you journey through life with a lot of years ahead of you, we wish you nothing but the best. Our hearts go out to you, we will always keep you in our prayers.”
The Reddix family and the Crayton family go way back, as they grew up together and attended Lincoln Ball High School together, Reddix said.
Back then, Jacqueline Crayton’s passion for helping was strong, something she carried with her throughout her life, Reddix said.
“Jackie was intense and very passionate about the things that she did,” she said. “We have the colors here of purple and gold. Those were the colors of Ball High School, the high school Jackie graduated from before integration. Whatever organizations that Jackie participated in school, she was very passionate and put her whole heart into.”
Minister Kevin Williams, who offered up a prayer, reminded Jacqueline’s family they are not alone in their journey.
“I just want to say to the Crayton family, just put your trust in God,” he said. “He says He will never leave you, nor forsake you. Even when we don’t understand. The comforting thing today is that He is right there with you. Even in the midst of the storm. In the midst of your pain, He is saying, ‘Peace be still.’”
After many prayers and words from friends and neighbors, the evening closed with the lighting of candles that were placed at the shrine.
“The outpouring of love from people of all backgrounds, the diversification here today was just beautiful,” Reddix said. “The love was here. There was just love.”