Church community celebrates the life of Ashlee Steele - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Church community celebrates the life of Ashlee Steele

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FITCHBURG (WKOW)-- The church where Ashlee Steele worked honored the murdered mother of two in a service Saturday.

The community is still struggling to come to grips with the murder of Ashlee and her sister, Kacee Tollefsbol. The two were shot and killed in Ashlee's Fitchburg home last month.

“The message of today is that darkness doesn't have the final word, light does,” said Jeff Meyer, the pastor at The Church in Christ Memorial.

The Church at Christ Memorial is where Ashlee Steele worked every day, teaching preschool. And it's where her life and ministry were celebrated Saturday.

“It always struck me how energetic she was, every time I saw her,” said Elsa Gumm, a co-worker of Ashlee's.

It was a gathering for all ages. The church community came together to support each other and Ashlee's loved ones. Kids and adults made these cards for Ashlee and Kacee's families.

Jackie Pongratz worked with Ashlee, and her son Erik was in her class.

“I felt my kids were old enough now to hear a little bit about what's going on,” Jackie said. “And I think it's important that they know that there are people out there who can support us as we work through emotions with this, and we can be there to support others.”

Pastor Jeff Meyer led the service and says many may struggle with how and why did this happen. He says even if there were answers to those questions, it wouldn't ease the sense of loss.

“It doesn't remove the grief for people who are experiencing that,” Pastor Meyer said. “It doesn't help ultimately.”

Pastor Meyer says this is an opportunity for the community to come together, reach out to those who are struggling. He also spoke about domestic violence and encouraged anyone suffering to seek help.

“I just felt to day was an opportunity to reach out to people that might be in the setting that might be struggling with that. to know there is a safe place where people can come and get help and feel comfortable,” Pastor Meyer said. “To not do that, I think would have been irresponsible.”

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FITCHBURG (WKOW)-- A community gathering in celebration of the life of Ashlee Steele will be held today at 3:00 p.m at Church of Christ Memorial in Fitchburg.

Ashlee and her sister Kacee Tollefsbol were shot and killed inside Ashlee's Fitchburg home on August 22. Ashlee's husband, former Dane County deputy Andrew Steele is charged in the killings and is jailed on a $2 million bond.

Today's event will be held at the church where Ashlee taught preschool. The goal is to celebrate Ashlee's life and ministry and support the families of the victims. It will include family-friendly events and all ages are welcome.

The Church at Christ Memorial is located at 2833 Raritan Rd., Fitchburg.

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