As life moves on for one Excelsior Springs family, they will always remember the wife, mother, grammy and best friend, who’s spirit shone above all others.
Matthew Mitchell said he credits his mom Kristy for his ability to face anything life threw at him. He said she was his largest fan and biggest supporter. Kristy truly loved her family.
“She never did anything that would keep her from family,” he said. “Because to her, family was always the number one priority. And that never changed up until the day she was taken from this world.”
Although a gunman took Kristy from her family one November evening, four years ago, Matthew said she would not want anyone to dwell on it. She would simply like them to move on with her legacy in their hearts, he said. She would want them to show the love she always showed others.
Doug Mitchell and Kristy celebrated their 31st anniversary shortly before her fateful trip to Mississippi. He said if opposites attract, that would be them. Describing himself as “not a great talker,” Doug said he described his wife as outgoing and verbal. She loved to dance. She just possessed a great spirit.
That spirit showed when she spent time with her four grandkids, he said. Isabella, Conan, Chloe and Tyler called her Grammy, Kristy’s daughter Mellissa Mitchell said. They loved her and everyone agreed, Kristy lived for her grandkids.
“She would do anything for them,” Doug said. “She took them to their baseball practices, football practices or cheerleading.”
Mellissa said her parents paid for her children’s sporting activities. She would also go to every game. Everyone always heard Kristy cheer for her grandkids during games.
“She was the loudest one at the field,” Mellissa said.
Matthew said while most of his friends never wanted their parents attending their activities growing up, he never minded. Matthew and his friends loved it when Kristy became a bus driver and began driving his football team to games.
“Everyone would say ‘your mom is so cool,’” Matthew said. “She had an innate way of making you feel like you were invincible. Like you could overcome any obstacle that came your way. She instilled in me a sense of confidence and belief in myself.”
His sister said she described her mom as the glue that put their family together. Mellissa called Kristy her best friend. Kristy was everything to her.
“She was an awesome person,” she said. “She would go without to make everyone else happy.”
Kristy’s love for others shone through during her time with the Excelsior Springs Job Corps. Doug said his wife began as a bus driver and later, transferred to security. She recently moved to the purchasing department where she could dress up for work. Mellissa said that excited Kristy, as did decorating her office with photos of her family … especially those grandkids she loved so much.
Doug said she loved working with the Job Corps kids. Kristy wanted to help them in any way she could. The kids loved her as well. Doug said they would call her at home when they needed her.
Matthew said Kristy’s “outgoing personality and infectious smile” drew everyone to her.
“Going anywhere with her was always an adventure because she would strike up conversations with anyone just because it came so natural to her and people couldn’t help but engage,” he said. “Almost like she was gravity, pulling everyone in and forcing them to come out of their own little world. And in exchange, they would walk away maybe just a little bit happier and more content than they were moments before. She pulled us all in and we were powerless to her charm.”
The move to the purchasing department prompted the business trip to Jackson, Tennessee. Dianna Chance, Kristy’s sister-in-law, said Job Corps offered to fly her down, but Kristy opted to drive, so she could stop and visit Dianna in Little Rock, Arkansas.
Dianna said she and Kristy raised their children together.
“We were more than sister-in-laws, we were best friends,” she said.
Dianna said she remembers Kristy’s spirit of community and willingness to help others. She said she described Kristy simply as a kind-hearted person that would do whatever she could to help others.
Dianna said she can’t believe it’s already been four years. Now, the man charged with Kristy’s death will stand trial.
Doug said he’s doing okay now. He still experiences rough days. He simply wants closure.
Mellissa said she did not get enough time with her mom.
“Twenty-nine years wasn’t long enough,” she said.
Matthew said he describes his mom as a shining star in a dark world. He said he knows she watches over her family. While he said he believes Kristy would not want to dwell on how she died, he looks forward to the day when he and his family can put the tragic events that occurred behind them.
“I will not hide the fact that I long for closure in this matter and justice to be served,” he said. “So that we can finally move on without this looming over the horizon and this whole ordeal will finally come to an unceremonious end.”