TRAVERSE CITY — There’s a voice that makes Paul Hurlbert a better person.
It belongs to his wife, Kelly Ann Boyce, who changed his life the moment they met five years ago. She died July 5 when a hit-and-run driver struck and killed her as she pedaled her bicycle home, but he can still hear her. He could be angry, but it’s her voice that tells him to remember to love.
“There’s no way that my life will be as good as it would have been,” Hurlbert said. “But because of how well I got to know her my life will definitely be much better than if I never met her. I’ll always be grateful for that.”
Flowers, balloons and a white “ghost bike” now mark the spot in an alley off Railroad Street where Boyce, 29, lay shortly before she died. The memorial is within sight of the home they shared, and so is another reminder Hurlbert has few words to describe — a long black mark that snakes from Washington Street where the driver struck his wife, on down Railroad Street and into the alley’s mouth.
“The memorial is positive energy — people are showing support and love — but that tire mark just has hate written all over it,” he said.
Hurlbert and Boyce would have celebrated their first wedding anniversary on Monday, but instead he’s been surrounded by friends like Mike Moran.
“We’ve been telling stories,” Hurlbert said. “They’ve gotten me laughing. I guess I’ve always been one to joke and joke through pain.”
“It’s how Kelly was, too,” Mike Moran said.
Traverse City police received more than 300 tips in their investigation as they seek the driver of dark pickup truck or SUV, or silver SUV witnesses saw at about 1:50 a.m. the night Boyce died. Hurlbert doesn’t know how he’ll react when the killer is found.