Family of Isabelle Parr celebrates her life on the anniversary of her death
Nov 30, 2023, 7:23 PM | Updated: Dec 1, 2023, 10:43 am
SALT LAKE CITY – A Holladay family is offering forgiveness to the driver of a hit-and-run that killed UVU student Isabelle Parr.
“We don’t have any bad feelings towards the driver, we hope that the driver can find our forgiveness and our love and have hope for the future, whatever that looks like,” Matthew Parr, Isabelle’s father, said.
It’s been one year since Isabelle Parr was killed while jogging in Provo. She was struck by a vehicle sometime between 5:20 p.m. and 5:25 p.m. on December 1, 2022, near 850 W. 800 North. The driver never stopped to help.
“It bothers us in just that we don’t know, we don’t have a conclusion to the accident story, and so it just hangs out there,” Parr said. “But we don’t have any ill will towards the driver, accidents happen, we don’t know the situation, we just know the results of the event.”
In an exclusive interview with KSL TV, Matthew Parr spoke publicly about the loss of his daughter for the first time. He says from the moment he, his wife, and their four other children learned about what happened to Isabelle, they’ve focused on honoring the life she lived.
“She was thriving,” Parr said. “She really liked being a young adult and found peace and happiness, and she was just going full steam and it was great.”
Parr says while Isabelle had a passion for fashion and loved clothing, she wanted to be a teacher. He says one of his favorite memories of her is her love of desserts.
“She loved to take one bite of all the desserts. She would come in and if you had a dozen donuts, she had to take one bite of every donut just to try it out,” he said.
Parr said Isabelle shared a special bond with her siblings and valued spending time with them.
“She loved her little sisters, just absolutely adored having little sisters,” said Parr. “The three of them were just good, super best friends.”
Parr’s son Tate, who is close in age to Isabelle, is currently serving a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He was in Africa when Isabella was killed. Over the past year, the family has leaned into their faith and their belief in eternal families to help them through their grief.
“We’ve come together as a family with our faith and hope, and I think the future is bright, and we’re grateful for her memories,” he said.
As the family approaches the first anniversary of Isabelle’s passing, the family gathered with extended family to honor her. Wednesday night, they visited her gravesite as her headstone was placed. Earlier in the week the family visited the accident site and placed a giant rock displaying a sunflower, which was beautifully painted by one of her younger sisters.
“Everywhere you see the yellow sunflower, and this fall there were all kinds of wild sunflowers around and we took notice of that, and it was fantastic, it was special,” said Parr.
Thursday night, the family plans to gather at Isabelle’s graveside and celebrate her life with flowers and glitter.
“Isabelle — she loved Mama Mia and things like that, so we now have a tradition with glitter, so we’re going to have a glittering up at the cemetery and throw glitter in her honor,” said Parr.
When asked if there was a motto Isabelle lived her life by, Parr shared a story from her LDS mission in Winter Quarters. He says Isabelle was helping to build a rock wall for a service project when one of the volunteers said, “Sometimes you have to love them into place.”
“So that was kind of her saying after that, to love people into place. And that takes time and patience, and it takes effort. And I think that’s a great summary of her life and it’s to love people into place, and she did a great job,” he said.
Parr hopes that someday they’ll know the full story of what happened during the accident that took Isabelle’s life, but in the meantime, they’re choosing not to dwell on it.
“We can’t change the events of the accident, so we focused on becoming stronger as a family and understanding what the big picture looks like,” said Parr.
Parr shared this message for that driver:
“For the driver, we’ve offered our forgiveness. That individual has to live knowing that this accident took place for the rest of their life, and that’s a challenge as well, and it’s difficult, and we want to reach out with love and understanding that life’s challenges happen, and we hope that individual has a good future and can move on as we move on.”