EVERETT - It's been more than nine years since their loved one was taken from their lives, but Holly Notestine's family and friends finally had closure Saturday night.
About 40 people attended a memorial service for Notestine at the Dalla Valle Funeral Home in Everett, choosing to focus on Notestine's short life rather than her tragic end, sharing tissues and tears.
Joseph W. Clark of Everett was found guilty last year of the kidnapping and murder of 25-year-old neighbor Notestine, who was taken from her Clearville home April 30, 2000. Her remains were found in 2004.
With sorrow and grief rushing down their faces in streams of tears, Notestine's fiance, Ronald Grubb, and their two children, Chasity, 15, and Logan, 14, held each other tightly in front of Notestine's coffin at the end of the service, which included a selection of bluegrass songs at the conclusion.
A collection of photographs of Notestine from childhood through her early 20s was on display.
"They planned most of it," Grubb said of his teenage children. "I think the kids really needed it."
Grubb said picking out the casket was the first time he saw his son break down, including throughout the lengthy police investigation and two capital murder trials in Bedford County.
According to trial testimony, Notestine was bathing her two children when she left the home to see who had pulled into the driveway. Logan watched out a window as his mom had an altercation with a big man he said resembled Clark. Prosecution testimony alleged that Notestine was forced into Clark's car and stabbed during the drive to where her body was dumped a few miles away.
"It was pretty hard after nine years," Grubb said, wiping tears from his face.
Grubb was awarded Notestine's remains on behalf of her children in late February. He said he wanted to wait until the end of the school year to hold the long-awaited memorial service.
Notestine's remains will be cremated, and she will be buried at the Clearville Union Cemetery in a few weeks, Grubb said.
He added that he has tried to pick up the pieces and move on with his life by returning to work and recently buying a home.
"Life does go on," Grubb said, "whether you want it to or not."
Clark was sentenced to life in prison last summer by a Dauphin County jury. He is currently at the State Correctional Institution at Coal Township. His attorney recently filed an appeal with the state Supreme Court.
Mirror Staff Writer Wendy McCardle is at 946-7520.