‘Cherish every day you have with your loved ones’: Friends, family remember Kassie Dewey one year after her killing
Mon., April 11, 2022
“We were like sisters,” says Misty Stuart, center, about Kassie Dewey while talking with Kassie’s cousin Amber Gower on Sunday in front of the memorial near Corbin Park built by family and friends in honor of Dewey in Spokane. (KATHY PLONKA/THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW)
The memorial sits at the base of a ponderosa, at the bottom of a hill, across from Kassie Dewey’s childhood home near Corbin Park.
It’s bright and loud, like Dewey’s fashion sense. Yellow sunflowers sit in a bucket out front, next to an orange sign marked with her kids’ names. Pinwheels spin in the cold spring breeze on the memorial’s edges. Primroses, planted in a giant “K” for Kassie, grow out of the dirt.
The site’s an homage to Dewey’s love of arts and crafts, too. Pictures of her hang from the pine’s trunk, turning it into a living scrapbook. A wooden angel, made from an old shutter and parts of a rocking chair, keeps watch over it all.
Dewey was killed a year ago. Police say she was stabbed to death by the man she was dating, Joshua Phillips, whom Dewey had kicked out of her north Spokane home two days earlier. Phillips, currently in jail awaiting trial for murder, is also accused of attempted murder after repeatedly stabbing Dewey’s 5-year-old daughter, Lilly, who recovered after weeks in intensive care.
Friends and family made the memorial last week and gathered in front of it Sunday to remember Dewey.
“It’s really left a hole in our family, this needless loss,” said JoAnn Stewart, Dewey’s grandmother.
Dewey was a 35-year-old mother of three. She grew up in Spokane, went to North Central High School and spent most of her adult life as a mental health technician at Eastern State Hospital.
She had a great laugh, green eyes and dark red hair – although the colors and styles changed a lot. At one point she sported a blond mohawk.
“She was spontaneous,” said Misty Stuart, one of Dewey’s best friends for roughly 15 years.
Dewey was “that girl that everyone liked,” Stuart said, and the person people would call when they got into trouble. She “knew the ones she loved better than they often knew themselves,” friend Sam Boyd said in a text. She was “the life of the party,” in the words of Amber Gower, her older cousin.
“When Kassie’s around, the room was lit up,” Gower said. “And I’m not just saying that – it was.”
“She was glamorous,” said Jobie O’Neil, Dewey’s aunt, adding that she always “brought a sparkle and a smile.”
“She’d make sweats look pretty,” Stuart said.
Ed Stewart, Dewey’s uncle, said she loved sports. Growing up, she played baseball, basketball and volleyball. But another game was her specialty, in her uncle’s mind.
“You didn’t mess with her on the tetherball court,” he said.
When Dewey was just a few years old she liked to stay up past midnight, JoAnn Stewart said. She always liked music – all genres, but especially rap. When she was 6, “she loved to sing Mariah Carey,” Ed Stewart said.
JoAnn Stewart said she hopes Dewey’s death can help bring awareness to domestic violence.
If you see a loved one living in an abusive relationship, say something, she said.
“Roar like a lion,” JoAnn Stewart said.
If you’re being abused, don’t hesitate to ask for help, she added.
Dewey’s family won’t completely recover from her death, JoAnn Stewart said.
“You have to find sweet memories,” she said. “You have to cherish every day you have with your loved ones.”
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