In the lobby of Community Bible Church was the last photograph of 16-year-old Kali Gorzell with her trademark smile, holding the small fish she had just caught, taken within minutes of her fatal boating accident, according to a family spokeswoman.
She also said Kali had even texted the photo to her parents, James and Donna Gorzell, in those final moments.
On Thursday, Kali’s parents stood before her casket as hundreds of mourners waited in line to embrace them and offer words of condolence and admiration for their daughter.
“The girl, in 16 years of life, influenced more people with joy and happiness than most people do in 80 years,” said Pastor Robert Emmitt.
To demonstrate, the pastor of one of San Antonio’s largest churches, where Kali took part in youth activities, showed the audience what he was wearing.
“I’m wearing a T-shirt to the memorial service for the first time in my entire life,” Emmitt said. “It’s also the first time I’ve worn one with pink letters and hearts.”
The T-shirts produced by Kali’s friends proclaim what many already have shoe-polished on the windows of their vehicles, “Live Like Kali.”
“She loved the Lord and she loved people unconditionally,” Emmitt told the audience.
He said by doing so, Kali had fulfilled God’s commandments to “love Him and love thy neighbor.”
During his opening prayer, Emmitt said in her 16 brief years of life, “we soaked up every minute, the joy, the laughter, the influence she had.”
Among the mourners was Jackie Parkill, a student at Smithson Valley High School where Kali was to begin her junior year.
“Everybody should live life to the fullest and be more like Kali because she was such a good person,” Parkhill said.
Kali is survived by her parents and her older brother, Kirby.