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Family, friends celebrate Feamster’s life

SALISBURY — Not a day goes by, Treasure Feamster’s mother and siblings say, that they don’t think about the girl they lost seven years ago.
ShaRhonda Feamster, mother to six children including Treasure, seemed close to tears Saturday as she described her daughter, who would have turned 21 Friday if she had lived.
When the anniversaries come, and days would have been milestones in Treasure’s life, ShaRhonda said the family often gathers.
“We talk about her. We go visit the grave,” ShaRhonda said, standing under a canopy in the back yard of the family home on Gold Hill Drive.
They gathered again Saturday, one day after what would’ve been Treasure’s 21st birthday, to remember her and to pay respects.
ShaRhonda said she wanted to do “something a little more than just have a cookout” for Treasure’s birthday this year.
At 4 p.m., friends and family gathered at the home, surrounding ShaRhonda Feamster and her children.
Also on hand were two people representing the community where Treasure died: Dee Dee Wright and Fannie Butler, of the West End Community Organization.
On March 16, 2007, after a teen party at the J.C. Price American Legion Post, a fight broke out among rival gang members and escalated into an exchange of gunfire.
Feamster, caught in the crossfire, was shot as she and others ran for cover.
Butler said it was important for her to be present, representing a community that continues to struggle with violence seven years after Treasure Feamster’s death.
But the violence that ended Treasure’s life wasn’t the focus of Saturday’s gathering.
It was more a chance to talk, to share stories and to comfort one another.
Eboni Feamster, Treasure’s cousin, was there the night she was killed in 2007. Eboni, 20, is three months younger.
“She was a loving, caring, silly, intelligent young lady,” Eboni Feamster said.
Today, Eboni said she still thinks of her cousin and imagines how their lives might be.
Sitting with her relatives, Eboni held her daughter, Danielle Robinson, who’s just over a year old.
Likewise, another cousin, Alexia Feamster, said she hopes to see Treasure again one day, beyond this Earth.
Treasure’s mother said that, if you had ever met her daughter, you would remember her.
“She was outspoken, and she was helpful,” ShaRhonda Feamster said. “She liked to talk, and to read. She was a good babysitter.”
“She always had jokes, she liked to joke,” said Treasure’s sister, LaNora Jackson, 15.
Although she was just 8 when Treasure died, LaNora said she’s heard stories.
There was the time when Treasure was about 11 years old and, for whatever reason, decided to try driving the car.
As ShaRhonda told the story, Treasure managed to start the car, get it in gear … and run into the mailbox.
“And instead of telling me,” ShaRhonda said, “she ran and hid,” leaving her mother to try to figure out just what had happened.
“I remember the day she died, she called me from school,” ShaRhonda said. Treasure was being “bossy,” her mother said – talking about life at home.
None of them knew what was about to happen.
And to this day, they don’t forget.
Her brother, Charles Jackson, 17, said Treasure “was the only person who could make me laugh.”
“Right now, we’d probably be riding somewhere on the highway together,” said Jackson, who has a tattoo on his arm that reads “R.I.P. Treasure.”
“It’s so different with her gone,” Charles Jackson said. “I wish I could have those days back.”
“We were together about every day,” Eboni said. “It’s easier this day, because there’s family and friends here.”
But remembering the day Treasure was killed, “or when I think about her not being here, that’s a hard day,” Eboni said.
The Rev. Nilous Avery, pastor of Mt. Zion Baptist Church, Salisbury, has been a part of helping the family remember Treasure Feamster.
For three years, Avery said, the Interdenominational Fellowship of Churches has awarded a scholarship
Working with family, three years ago they began awarding a memorial scholarship in Feamster’s name, “to try to empower our youth,” Avery said.
Avery recalled how community members came together to work for changes in the wake of the shooting, “since Treasure’s death had sort of galvanized us … to have an impact on our youth here in the community.
Avery gathered about 20 friends, family and guests in a group to release balloons, and prayers, to the skies.
A few minutes before, a red-tailed hawk started circling overhead, something one family member said she’d never seen before.
The hawk was still visible high overhead as the balloons were released, floating slowly up on the breeze, toward the west.
“Eight years ago, a young life was taken from us physically, but she lives on,” Avery said.
Remembering the late Maya Angelou, whose funeral was held Saturday, Avery read from her poem “Amazing Peace” and – in a nod to one of the poet’s most famous works – said that, had she lived, Treasure would have been “a phenomenal woman.”
ShaRhonda said that she was glad to have representatives from the West End community at the gathering.
At the same time, she said there’s still a lot more to be done to protect young people from violence.
“In the end, it affects everyone, not just (youth), but other families, the community everybody,” ShaRhonda Feamster said.
“We always think about Treasure,” Wright said. “We want to remember this young lady who was very vibrant and full of life, who probably had more potential than we can dream of.”
At the same time, Wright said, it’s tragic that it takes the death of a child like Treasure Feamster for people in power to take notice.
For the family, includingTreasure’s brother, Temarrio Feamster, the day was a chance to remember a sister he said was “beautiful, energetic, a fun person to be around.”
Her eldest brother, Marquis, said that as the family as continued to grow – with several toddlers and young kids playing among the teens and grown-ups at the home – those new additions remind him of his sister.
And it helps him, Marquis said, “to see Treasure in them.”

Contact Hugh Fisher via the editor’s desk at 704-797-4244.

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