Family and friends gather for service one year after murder of wife by officer
The Holland Sentinel
By MEGAN SCHMIDT
Posted Jan 10, 2009
In the months before her murder, Lori DeKleine began to “branch out.”
She started to confide in her sister and others about the abuse and manipulation she was subjected to by her husband, who at the time was a Holland police officer.
That’s why last summer, members of Holland Heights Christian Reformed Church decided that the best way to remember Lori, who loved gardening, would be to plant a tree outside the church.
On Saturday, Jan. 10, family and friends of Lori DeKleine gathered around that tree for a candlelight vigil — exactly one year after her murder.
The memorial took place just across the street from the Calvin Avenue home where Lori DeKleine, 43, was found dead in her basement on Jan. 10, 2008.
Her husband, Ken DeKleine, against whom Lori DeKleine had once filed a restraining order, was convicted of her murder in July and sentenced to life in prison without parole.
With a portrait of Lori positioned on a table behind him, senior pastor George DeJong led a group of about 40 people in attendance through prayer during the ceremony.
“I really don’t believe that Lori’s time on earth was over, but it was taken by Ken,” DeJong said. “It was received by God, no question. But it was robbed.”
Lori’s sister, Patti Ticknor, recalled Lori’s skill as a writer during the memorial service.
Ticknor remembered a book Lori composed for her parents called “My Heart,” inspired by her faith, for Christmas in 2007.
Material from that book would later be drawn for Lori’s funeral service.
“She actually wrote her own funeral,” Ticknor said.
That Christmas remains etched in Ticknor’s memory, because it was a time when she was just beginning to know Lori as a friend, she said. It was also the last time she would see Lori alive.
For years, the sisters were at odds — often due to Ken DeKleine’s manipulative behavior, she said.
Ken appeared to be one of the “nicest, gentlest” people, Ticknor said, often causing her to question Lori’s side of the story.
“He would give me information that built a case against Lori,” she said.
Ticknor’s relationship with Lori began to change when the sisters began working together, after Lori had separated from Ken. The improvement showed at that last Christmas together, Ticknor said.
“We were like long-lost friends,” she said. “My parents’ faces glowed.”
Since Lori’s murder, Ticknor said she’s received support from organizations such as Michigan Officer Involved Domestic Violence.
The organization helps women who are victims of domestic violence to find their voices.
Before her death, Lori may have felt that her voice had been silenced, friend Suzy Doyle said.
During the memorial, Doyle recalled walking Lori through the steps to apply for a personal protection order in January 2007, thinking it would help to keep Ken away from her.
“I was confident the criminal justice system would take this woman seriously,” Doyle said. “The judge assured her that while Ken was powerful, he (the judge) was powerful, too.”
Since Lori’s murder, several members of the Holland Police Department have apologized to her parents for not coming to Lori’s aid, Ticknor said.
As the service closed, DeJong reminded gatherers not to forget Lori’s murder — but also not to give Ken DeKleine the power to continue manipulating the emotions of those she loved.
“We must be conscious of the chaos that happened down this street, but not controlled by it,” he said. [LINK]
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