Warm memories and thoughts of Greg Pendleton, wife Kathy and their five-year-old daughter Kaitlyn were shared by many of the 200-plus people who packed the Brookings Elks Lodge for Saturdays memorial service.

The three family members died in a Nov. 28 house blaze started by an unattended candle. The familys 12-year-old daughter, Felisha, managed to escape.

Weve always had a very tight and loving family, and we have to perpetuate that with a few less, a teary-eyed Dick Pendleton said during the memorial services. I want to thank everyone for coming.

Mourners entering the Elks Lodge on Elk Drive were greeted in the lobby by a poster board decorated with dozens of family snapshots. Several fishing poles and a single golf club belonging to Greg Pendleton were included in the display.

Set up inside the main room were large photographs, one of a smiling Greg and Kathy, and one of Kaitlyn. Flowers were everywhere.

Rev. Warren Muller led the service, starting with a prayer and reading several comforting passages from the Bible.

Greg, Kathy and Kaitlyn are no longer walking with us in life because of this unspeakable tragedy, and we are helpless to do anything about it, Muller said. But we are here today to hold one another, to find solace in one another, and in God.

Muller said, We are here to affirm our relationship with Greg, Kathy and Kaitlyn. Weve asked four people who were close with them to share with us good witness.

First to speak was one of Gregs closest friends, Carl Russ. He said his father recently died, and now he had lost his best friend. He spoke of the times he and Greg went fishing and hunting together over the years.

Greg, if theres fishing in heaven, Ill make you a deal, he said. You take my dad fishing and Ill take yours.

Russ said Greg was very competitive, often beating him at Nintendo video games. He blamed Greg for getting him addicted to golf.

I cant say enough about him. He was always looking out for his family, he said, then added. I guess this is the part where I have to say goodbye.

Next to speak was Alice Abrams, a friend of Kathy and former nurse practitioner for the family.

Kathy and I use to talk about our families and living here in Brookings, Abrams said. She was good at putting things in perspective.

Abrams said Kathy was a wonderful mother who worked hard to create a home environment that promoted a strong family.

Kathy lives in my memory as a smiling, happy peaceful woman who knew how to enjoy life.

Sharon Markey, who provided day care for Kaitlyn at her home near the Pendletons house, had nothing but praise for the five year old and her mother.

Katy was very timid, but a sweet child, Markey said. It was obvious that she was raised with a lot of love. She truly was an angel, as she is now.

Markey said students at her day care will plant a tree in the backyard in memory of Kaitlyn. That way, they said, they can grow up with her.

Sue Musser, the principal of Azalea Middle School, said she didnt know Greg or Kathy, but I do know their daughter, Felisha, and I know they had to be a loving, caring and compassionate family to raise such a wonderful young lady.

Musser added, The death of this family has caused a great deal of hurt and pain in our school and across this entire community.

See Memorial, Page 14A