Emotions ran high at the funeral held for Phoebe on January 14, 2015. One man was asked to leave when he shouted threats towards John Jonchuck, he could no longer control his anger. About 150 people had gathered and were listening to Pastor Bren Byerman preaching about forgiveness at the Lake Magdeline United Methodist Church.

Michelle Kerr had asked that people wear bright colors instead of black, in honor of Phoebe.

A tiny white casket was decorated with pink tulle and flowers with her favorite doll and stuff animal inside with her. Michelle Jonchuck had previously said that she wished her son would have killed himself instead of Phoebe and she called Phoebe her Angel princess:

"Every time I see a rainbow, I will think of you. I love you. You are so
sweet. You made Maw Maw's life complete"

Pastor Byerman spoke about the unanswerable question, why did this happen:

"When we try and wrestle with the whys, some people will say
mabye it was God's will. At this time I can't believe quite that.
There needs to be a lot of forgiveness here today. Not only
forgiveness for the person who took Phoebe's life, but also
for ourselves. Many things happened to this girl that were
not the will of God"

"You Are My Sunshine" was sung along with "Jesus Loves Me" while mourners blew kisses whenever they heard Phoebe's name mentioned:

"She loved rainbows and butterflies, puppies and cats. She was happy
and always wanted to be a dancer. She loved arts and crafts. There
aren't enough words to describe how this child brought so much
happiness to people"

Michelle was asked about John and she replied that she is afraid he will never be able to explain what he did:

"The child loved her daddy and her daddy was never mean to her. He adored
her. Why he did it is a question that maybe one day will be answered, or it
never will. Obviously, there was something that snapped. I have to forgive him,
because I'll never go to Heaven if I don't forgive him. I'm not happy with him.
Everybody has to forgive each others trespasses. I never imagined this would
happen. Phoebe did have a good life. She's an Angel up there and she'll never
leave us"

Michelle Jonchuck had a message for Phoebe:

"I know you don't want me or anyone else to cry. But we can't help it right now.
We know that God needs another Angel. This isn't goodbye to you, my Angel
princess, because one day again, I will be by your side"

A slideshow was played of Phoebe's life, with her classmates, on Santa's lap, making a peace sign, laying with a dog and smiling as as she always did. Mourners shared stories about Phoebe:

"Phoebe loved school and she loved her friends, who, by the way, are doing
amazingly. They speak of her as an Angel with a set of fluffy wings"
Micha Oliver - Teacher

The children in her class had told her that Phoebe was in a cloud.

When the service ended, four pallbearers carried the tiny, white casket to the hearse and a caravan led by Sheriff's cruisers with sirens and lights who rode to the cemetery which was a mile away.


The sky was gray as cars stopped and people got out to say goodbye to Phoebe. A prayer was read and when the service was over, some family returned to the church for a news conference and to thank the community for their support. The family asked that anyone wanting to make a donation, send it to Phoebe's school.

Michell Jonchuck said about her son:

"I'm not happy with him. Who would be? I don't know what happened,
but I have to forgive him"
The Blount & Curry Funeral Home paid for the burial.


This page was created on January 11, 2015

Death occurred in the state of Florida

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