Family, friends attend celebration of life for Chelsea Childers

Published 12:02 am Tuesday, April 4, 2023

SALISBURY — Mourners filled the pews at First United Methodist Church on a sunny Saturday afternoon to celebrate the life of Chelsea Childers, a local singer, educator and librarian who unexpectedly died in March after falling and hitting her head.

The church was filled with family, friends and acquaintances for Bible readings, hymns and songs in honor of Childers. One song had the crowd singing along the line “Everybody loves Chelsea Childers” as people clapped their hands and hugged each other with tears in their eyes and some smiles as people surely remembered Childers love for music. There was also a table in the lobby of the church filled with pictures of Childers over the years.

Her mom, Joyce Keller, told a story she said Childers always liked to hear when she was a child. Before she started Keller said she had forgotten her sheet with the story at home and asked the crowd for energy; the church filled with applause and cheers as Keller stood at the front holding back tears. Keller told about a faraway land where happy people gave out “warm fuzzies” to each other out of colorful bags. When someone gave out these “warm fuzzies…it would be warm and it would melt into your skin and you would feel good all over.” But soon, a wicked witch came to the land and convinced the people of the land to not give out the “warm fuzzies” to others, but to hoard them for themselves or for their family members. Soon the happy land turned into a sad place filled with “cold pricklies.” Then, a nice lady came to the land and started to give out her fuzzies to everyone she saw just as they had done at the start of the story. But some wanted to stop the nice lady, so they created a law that would stop people from giving out too many “warm fuzzies.” Some people wanted to follow the law, but others wanted disregarded it.

“So it comes down to this: will they obey the law that actually it was a crime to give away your warm fuzzies or will they follow their hearts. I know what Chelsea did,” Keller said at the end of the story.

After Keller, Childers’ 16-year-old daughter, Lily, talked about how much she loved her mother and how special she was to her and everyone else who had the opportunity to meet her. She spoke on how everyone always said that Lily looked like Childers, which she loved because “she is so beautiful.”

“My mom was amazing. She’s one of the kindest people I’ve ever met…no one was a stranger. And if you were a stranger, she still would welcome you with open arms,” Lilly said holding back tears. “Anytime someone would ask me who my superhero is, I say ‘my mom.’ When you think about it, she definitely is a superhero. She always helped people in need. And if we’re being honest, she probably saved many lives.”

Lily talked about Childers’ contagious smile that she had no matter what was happening; a smile that would guarantee to put a smile on another’s face, especially when she was playing guitar.

“She’s the reason I’m so musically gifted. She taught me everything I know, especially my grammar,” Lily said as laughs filled the church. “She was always my No. 1 supporter. Without my mom, I wouldn’t be who I am today.”

Childers’ father, Joseph Childers, also gave a speech, thanking everyone for their continued support and for being there to celebrate his daughter’s life that was cut short too soon.

“When you remember Chelsea: smile, do for others, create, love and laugh. Think of those things she gave to us and live,” Joseph said.