MILWAUKEE -- In a sanctuary filled with tears, hugs and prayer, Barbara Killebrew's family gathered to celebrate a life robbed from them.
"It's just taken a toll on everybody," niece Taquanda Brown said.
Killebrew died Tuesday night after her boyfriend, 52-year-old Moreal Wilson, stabbed her 16 times in her home near 24th and Melvina. Brown says Killebrew was a highly spiritual woman who would walk through her neighborhood and pray.
"Different people from different places, they would say, 'Oh, she worked with me,' or, 'She prayed for me,'" Brown said. "I'm like, 'Wow. She was amazing.'"
Saturday's rally at Redemption Fellowship Church -- just three blocks from Killebrew's home -- highlighted the dangers of domestic violence and reminded the 60-year-old grandmother's family it can happen to anyone.
"I think she seen the best in [Wilson] that he didn't even see," Brown said. "Which is really hard to digest that he could even do something like this to her."
Domestic violence survivor Yahminah McIntosh didn't know Killebrew, but understands she could have found the same fate.
"There is still a population of people that don't realize how serious it is and what's going on in their respective communities," McIntosh said. "So now we can scream and holler and say it's happening now."
"We're just trying to show them that it's OK, it's not your fault," organizer Tracey Dent said. "If you need to get help we have info and resources here to help you."
A donation box collected money to help pay for Killebrew's burial, but Brown knows her aunt's story and message can't end here.
"Whether it's work battles, your home issues, we still have to be here," Brown said. "And we're trying to get to heaven where she is."
You can donate to the Barbara Killebrew Fund at any Chase Bank. Her family says a funeral is planned for next weekend.