Lehigh murder victims, mother and son, laid to rest
A Lee County EMT and her 1-year-old son were laid to rest at Lee Memorial Park in Lehigh Acres Wednesday afternoon following a funeral at New Life Assembly of God Church on Leonard Blvd.
Hundreds of people, friends and fellow members of the Lee County Emergency Medical Services and EMTs from other areas of the state in addition to firefighters and others attended the hour-long service that started at around 11:15 a.m.
The double funeral was for Lisa Eddy-Forde and her son, Caleb Forde, who were victims in a double murder-suicide Sept. 7 at their home in Lehigh.
Eddy-Forde was stabbed while Caleb was shot. Winselsio Forde, husband and father, died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, officials said.
Full honors were bestowed up Eddy-Forde and her baby with an honor guard around the casket on Tuesday night at the Gendron Funeral in Fort Myers.
The funeral procession from the church included Lee County Sheriff’s Office motorcycle officers and EMS vehicles, marked emergency response vehicles, white hearses and three limos, all followed by those who came to say good-bye to the mother and son.
Traffic was tied up briefly while the procession made its way from the church down Owen Avenue to SR 80 onto the Lee Memorial Park where two aerial fire trucks from Estero sat on each side of the cemetery entrance with a king-sized American flag hanging high up waving in the wind as the procession slowly entered the cemetery.
Diane Holm, spokesperson for Lee County Public Safety, said that Lisa Eddy-Forde had been an EMT since February of 2007. She said she grew up in Lehigh. In addition to being an EMT, she also had her paramedic license, Holm said.
EMTs and law enforcement people came from all over Southwest Florida came to the service and to the cemetery.
It was the first time that anyone could remember that an EMT in Lee County had died while employed as an active emergency medical technician.
There are about 300 members of Lee County EMS and Holm said all of them were touched by Eddy-Forde’s life.
She described her as a very friendly and loving person who knew how to make her patients happy despite pain they may be enduring.
A childhood friend from Atlanta, Ga., who came to the funeral, Holly Hackler, said it was a tragic loss to her and others and her prayers and support were with those left behind, her family and friends.
“She was proud to serve her community and was a source of strength to her friends and those she attended to in emergencies. It was a beautiful memorial service and will never be forgotten,” Hackler said.
“She may be gone from our sight but never from our hearts.”
Terry Mindykowski knew Lisa Eddy-Forde very well as a co-employee.
“We worked together. She was one of the kindest people you would meet. For everyone she met she always had a smile on her face. She was phenomenal, a mother who was very proud of her son and she talked about him sometimes non-stop,” he said.
“During this difficult stage that is hitting us, we are all trying to support each other. She was an expert at what she did. She always had that smile you couldn’t forget and she can’t be replaced.”
Holm said that the Gendron Funeral Home in Fort Myers did not charge for their services, but friends and the public may contribute to help pay for the burial expenses by donating to an account established at Wachovia Bank.
Holm said co-workers were paying their respect to their fellow employee by giving Eddy-Forde and her son full honors as part of the entitlement granted to all emergency workers who die while actively employed.
That began by standing 24-hour guard over her casket until the funeral.
Kim Dickerson, deputy public safety director said there were no words to express “the grief we are feeling.”
At the graveside at Lee Memorial Park, a chaplain from the Lee County Sheriff’s Office conducted a short ceremony followed by bagpipes, which played Amazing Grace.