She and a friend were going to an after-school activity and later to a baseball game when, at 4:25 p.m., the unthinkable happened.

Brittany Taylor Palmer, 18, was struck by a car and died a day later on March 14, 2012. She was crossing a street by Garinger High School, where she was a senior. She had spent her last morning preparing for Senior Exit Project and her last afternoon hanging with her friends.

Family, friends and school were a huge part of Brittany’s life and so was her church, Hickory Grove Baptist. She was active in the ongoing Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Project and the Christ in Action Ministry. She also taught small children in the “W-Zone” while their parents were in Wednesday evening prayer meetings.

“She did plays, productions and was in the Coffee House and Christmas programs,” said her mother, Katrina Palmer-White. “She had just started in Christ Fellowship, a group of Christians. She was very involved with young people at her church.”

Brittany had already been accepted to study at Liberty University for a Christian college education. She was excited to have received her roommate assignment and looked forward to enrollment.

Just a teenager

“She loved singing, acting, dancing, and reading her Bible. She had a quiet time every morning when she would pray,” Her mom said. She loved her friends and the phone; she was just a teenager.”

But what a wonderful teenager she was, said her music teacher, Jocelyn Thompson. “Brittany was one of the students who I could always depend on. She learned her part, took leadership from the beginning and sang soprano one with exuberance. She was phenomenal,” her teacher said. “She made an immediate impact and had this silly, goofy, laugh and was always smiling. She brought sunshine everywhere she went; I never saw her sad.

“The class says they’re going to take on her attitude of excellence and will honor Brittany by carrying on where she left off. It was refreshing to have a student like that, so upbeat. She made an impact on my life and I’ve been teaching for 31 years.”

She loved her friends

Brittany showed her love for her friends and they gave it back to her in full measure. “She loved us all,” said Lashonda Strickland, whom she had known since the ninth grade. Lashonda was with her when the tragedy occurred and it was Lashonda who called Brittany’s mom. Katrina sped to the scene and arrived just as the ambulance wailed away.

While we may expect to lose our parents, siblings and friends, it is absolutely devastating to lose a child. Although Katrina is distraught over her loss, “The Lord has really given me peace,” she said.

Funeral director Steve Hodge of McEwen’s Mint Hill Chapel, estimated that there were between 1,000 and 1250 who attended Brittany’s services. Her online guest book swelled 27 pages with 131 condolences.

That’s a whole lot of love. Yes indeed … a whole lot.

Editor’s note: This is our series called Lives That Matter. Written by Charlotte writer Gerry Hostetler, this weekly feature will profile individuals, recently deceased, who had a positive impact on those around them. Email

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