By Errol Castens/NEMS Daily Journal
NEW ALBANY – Mourners packed the expansive sanctuary, the gymnasium and several classrooms at Hillcrest Baptist Church to bid farewell on Thursday afternoon to Amanda Price.
Price, a New Albany schools speech therapist, was shot to death Monday night at her home after she apparently startled an intruder. Her husband, New Albany High School football coach Ron Price, also was wounded in the attack but is recovering. Their 3-year-old daughter, Molly Addison, was at home with her parents but was not physically harmed.
Police are still investigating the crime, and a $20,000 reward has been offered for information leading to the prosecution and conviction of the shooter.
Ron Price was surrounded by scores of family members. His daughter skipped into the sanctuary by his side, seeming mercifully blinded by her young years to the grief around her.
Throughout the 80-minute remembrance, family and clergy spoke of Amanda Price’s outgoingness, compassion, patience and service, often addressing her directly from the pulpit.
“There’s no way to know how many lives you’ve touched,” said the Rev. Whit Lewis, Hillcrest’s pastor. “May your daughter know what a wonderful person you are.”
Noting the New Albany football team in maroon jerseys and red-rose boutonnieres in their role as honorary pallbearers, Lewis added, “The way you counted victories was by the number of football players who gave their hearts to Jesus, and not games won.”
The Rev. Gary Linville, a close family friend, noted Amanda Price had lived by 1 Timothy 4:12 – “Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.”
The Rev. Kermit McGregor, who formerly served as Hillcrest’s interim pastor, said, “You are a picture of joy.” He told of how she had graciously endured the hurtful remarks that come with the territory of being a coach’s wife.
“You showed us how to be patient,” McGregor said. “You showed us how to be kind in the face of criticism.”
One of Price’s nieces read a poem of prayer about her aunt’s death. One line lamented, “She’s suddenly gone, and the world seems so wrong.”
Jay Cossey said of his sister, “She loved people, she loved to laugh, she loved to smile. She wanted everyone to be welcome.” He delivered the only comic relief of the sobering service with stories about their childhood, including her bumping him out of the privileged “baby of the family” position.
Sherri Maners urged mourners to follow the example of both foundational faith and compassionate action that her little sister had given.
“We can strive to be more Christ-like in honor of Amanda,” she said.