Miss USA 2019 Cheslie Kryst Mourned at Memorial Service

Family friends and fans paid tribute to late beauty queen Cheslie Kryst during a public memorial service in North Carolina.

By Ashley Joy Parker Feb 20, 2022 6:17 PMTags
Watch: Miss USA 2019 Cheslie Kryst's Cause of Death Revealed

Three weeks after the tragic death of Cheslie Kryst, hundreds gathered at a church in North Carolina to celebrate the life of the former Miss USA.

Attended by family, friends and fans, the public service, held at Elevation Church in Blakeney, N.C. on Friday, Feb. 18, included emotional speeches by those who knew her best.

"Cheslie throughout her life sowed many seeds through her work, her philanthropy, her advocacy, and most importantly, her genuine care for others," Chelsie's mother April Simpkins said, per the Charlotte Observer. "I know those seeds will continue to bear fruit for many years." 

She continued, "I'm going to miss all of her and the living example of a pure heart. I'm going to miss that the most."

Edward Watson, a man who the aspiring lawyer helped free from prison in 2020, also attended the service and reflected on Cheslie's compassion for others, according to the Observer.


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"In life we encounter ordinary people, but there are rare cases when we meet extraordinary people," he said. "I needed help, the Lord sent the help that I needed."


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The executive director of Dress for SuccessKerry Barr O'Connor, called Kryst "one of the most effervescent people I ever met," WCNC reports. In honor of the late beauty queen, Dress for Success created the Cheslie Kryst Women's Advancement Fund aimed at continuing "her legacy of empowering, advancing, and supporting women today and throughout their employment journey," per its website.

Cheslie, who took home the crown at the 2019 Miss USA pageant died by suicide on Jan. 30.

"In devastation and great sorrow, we share the passing of our beloved Cheslie," her family said in a statement to Extra. "Her great light was one that inspired others around the world with her beauty and strength. She cared, she loved, she laughed and she shined."

The statement continued, "Cheslie embodied love and served others, whether through her work as an attorney fighting for social justice, as Miss USA and as a host on Extra. But most importantly, as a daughter, sister, friend, mentor and colleague — we know her impact will live on. As we reflect on our loss, the family asks for privacy at this time."


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Days after the tragedy, Cheslie's mother addressed her daughter's mental health in a statement to E! News.

"While it may be hard to believe, it's true," April said. "Cheslie led both a public and a private life. In her private life, she was dealing with high-functioning depression which she hid from everyone—including me, her closest confidant—until very shortly before her death."  

"I have never known a pain as deep as this," she continued. "I am forever changed."


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