TRAVERSE CITY — Paul Hurlbert loves to tell the story.
It’s about the moment Kelly Ann Boyce entered his life, when he first heard her voice in Union Street Station. When she asked, “Hey, want to dance on that pool table?” There was no music, but their friends clapped out a beat and they danced together for the next five years.
“I was a fun-loving idiot who got lucky,” Hurlbert told a crowd of hundreds in Traverse City’s F&M Park. “She saw something in me and kept at it until her loving ways started making sense to me.”
Family, friends, acquaintances and absolute strangers gathered Thursday afternoon to say goodbye to Boyce, 29, who died July 5 just a block away from the park after a hit-and-run driver struck her as she pedaled her bicycle home from work. Police are still combing through hundreds of leads for the at-large killer. But a long line of bicyclists — hundreds of bicyclists, in a funeral procession of sorts — who rode down Front Street after the service showed Boyce’s life was about hope, not fear.
Hurlbert and Boyce married almost a year ago on July 15 and she was just about to legally change her name to Kelly Boyce-Hurlbert when tragedy befell her. Speakers at the service spoke about a friend and loved one full of life, who loved her husband, her family and friends, her two dogs, dancing, music and pandas.
She also loved to wear a tutu with Chuck Taylor sneakers. Her friend Maggie Smith told the crowd Boyce would be proud of a tutu-making party her friends held Wednesday night.
“It dawned on me that we’re not all friends collectively, we are all friends because of Kelly,” she said. “Being at her house last night made us all remember what a gem she was to have picked all of us to be her friends. Kelly saw something in us that made her happy to be around us individually. We all started seeing these sparkly attributes in each other, and honestly it was almost as if Kell were there herself.”