York-Murrell’s impact remembered as a community mourns


The community was deeply saddened by the loss of Tracy York- Murrell, who tragically passed away in an auto accident on Sunday at the age of 39. Tracy was more than just a resident of Columbia; she was a pillar of strength, a source of laughter, and a beacon of kindness to all who knew her.
While community members will tell you that Tracy made each of them feel special to her, Tracy had three best friends. Holly Owens, DeShana Curry, and Amanda Duvall. The women became friends with Tracy during their school years and their friendships have continued through graduations, careers, marriages, and children.
Holly, who has been friends with Tracy for 25 years, remembered her as a person with a big personality and an even bigger heart. Their friendship began in high school, and over the years, they had become inseparable.
“Her personality was big. Her smile was big, her laugh was big, and she loved big,” Holly said.
Tracy was the kind of friend who could make any situation better, who always knew the right thing to say or do to lift your spirits.
“I could call her at any time, regardless of the emotions I was having that day, if I was happy, if I was sad, if I was mad, and she could always make it better. There was nothing we didn’t talk about.”
Holly recalled a particular incident at a concert where Tracy had stood up for her, when someone pushed Holly and Tracy came to her defense.
“I remember Tracy, before I could even blink, reached behind me and she told that girl, she said, ‘You touch her one more time and I’m gonna shank you.’”
Amanda Duvall’s friendship with Tracy began in the fifth grade, and over the next 28 years, they became like sisters. Despite life taking them in different directions, with Amanda raising four children and moving to Campbellsville, their bond remained strong.
Tracy was Amanda’s rock, always there to offer a listening ear or a shoulder to cry on.
“If I was crying, she was there. She would hold me. She knew exactly what to say and she was a very funny person. She was hilarious. She would always get me laughing to make me feel better. I had a bond with her like I’ve never had with anybody,” Amanda said.
Amanda admired Tracy’s resilience, especially considering the hardships she had faced in her life. Tracy’s ability to find joy in the simple things, like spending time with loved ones or gardening, was a testament to her positive outlook on life.
DeShana Curry had been friends with Tracy for 27 years, and said Tracy was “an old soul,” taking comfort in small things, enjoying time at home, gardening and making bread.
“She cared for kids and she wanted to take care of everybody and make everything better. It’s just unbelievable to lose somebody like this, who was so full of life. She gave everybody hope no matter what you were going through. She always had a positive message. She always was the strength,” DeShana said.
Tracy and DeShana talked every day.
“She knew my heart. I knew her heart,” DeShana said. “We got matching tattoos. They’re like a little squiggly. And I was like, ‘Tracy, why the hell are we getting squiggly? ‘And she’s like, ‘It means sister, not by blood.’ It means something, you know?”
Tracy’s friends all agreed that she was a force to be reckoned with, a woman who lived life on her own terms and loved with all her heart. Despite facing many challenges in her life, Tracy always remained positive, always found a reason to smile. She let them know if she thought they were making bad choices for themselves, but was quick to come to their defense.
“She was the one that set me straight. She was the one that always told me, this is what you need to do, and if you’re not gonna do it, well then that’s why you’re in this situation here,” DeShana said. “She was the strength. She is and was the backbone of my life.”
Holly felt the same way.
“She made me stronger, so I don’t know what I’ll do with that now,” Holly said. “I’m 38 and 25 years of that has been best friends with her. I asked my husband earlier, I said, ‘When will I feel normal again?’ And he said, ‘Honey, I can’t answer that.’”
Amanda says she will never have another friend like Tracy and feels like a hole has been left in her life. She also realizes that Tracy touched many lives with her special way of caring.
“She had many, many friends, but she made everybody feel like they were her number one,” Amanda said.
Tracy’ friends said while she faced many challenges in life, she always overcame them. She struggled in school yet built a career, serving as Home Resource Coordinator for Heritage Family Services in Campbellsville at the time of her death.
She lost loved ones but surrounded herself with people she chose to love.
“She finally had the life she wanted,” Holly said.
That included a life with her husband, Cameron, whom her friends said was the love of Tracy’s life.
“They were made for each other. He was her person,” DeShana said.
Visitation for Tracy will be held today beginning at 3 p.m. at Grissom-Martin Funeral Home with services on Friday at 11 a.m.
By Sharon Burton

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