Family holds candlelight memorial at assisted living facility

NOW: Family holds candlelight memorial at assisted living facility

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Amid the darkness one family is shedding light to others while they cannot be with one another on the anniversary of their fathers death.

Sonny Tepe was a husband of 60 years, father and grandfather.

You might even recognize the name because he ran Tepe's Catalog Showroom that was on Main Street in downtown South Bend, along with several other stores across Indiana and Michigan.

Now, a year later, the family wanted to come together to celebrate his memory and life--however the coronavirus made things difficult when recent bans are preventing everyone to get together.

With hope in their hearts, daughter Michele McNeill and her family, husband Mike and son Michael, came together to bring light to their mom, Dee.

"We we're going to go light a candle but she's kind of vulnerable with the whole COVID thing so we didn't want to risk any of that for her" says daughter Michele, "so we decided to bring the candles to her and so she's up there looking down on us and got to see the heart that we made in memory of my dad."

With paper bags, a little sand, and some candles the McNeill's brought light to the assisted living homes parking lot.

This simple act spoke louder than words ever could have for the McNeill and Tepe families.

The simple heart made of candles allowed Dee to see and feel the love of her family even from the 3rd story balcony window.

"Something like this you are going to remember that and she will remember that even more I think because it's not something you would normally do" says Michele, "so you try to make the best out of the circumstances that you can and if anything it brings people closer together."

"And we still have that mass out there and that candle we will light hopefully someday real soon" says husband, Mike "when it is good and safe to get outside and our mom is a little bit more healthy than she is right now."

"We have to give people hope."

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