ST. GEORGE – A family and community is grieving the loss of Kylee Gerken, a beloved wife, mother, family member and friend, who died Monday from complications related to pneumonia. Gerken was 33 weeks pregnant at the time. Her baby, Steven “Whip” Gerken, predeceased her Sunday.
Gerken left behind a husband, Dustin Lee Gerken, and two children; Makinlee Bre Gerken and Kystin Tomlen Gerken.
A GoFundMe page has been set up to help Gerken’s husband with hospital and funeral expenses.
January has been a particularly difficult month for Gerken’s family as Kylee’s father, Steve Cox, was killed after being struck by a trackhoe in LaVerkin Jan. 3.
Read more: Victim in fatal trackhoe accident identified
According to Gerken’s cousin, Kamie Dennett, Gerken had been sick with what she thought was a routine cold or possibly the flu. Gerken didn’t think she was too sick, Dennett said, and believed the illness would pass in time.
When Gerken noticed her baby was not moving around in her womb very much she went to labor and delivery at the hospital.
Dennett said the medical team was unable to find a heartbeat on the baby and also discovered that Gerken was much sicker than she had previously thought.
Gerken’s son died in utero but she was able to deliver the baby naturally and hold him before she died, Dennett said.
Dennett said her cousin died from double pneumonia and H1N1, a strain of influenza.
Gerken was known throughout the community as a kind and caring soul who would go out of her way to help anyone in need. Since her death, messages of support have been pouring in.
She was so nice to everyone, went out of her way to help others and loved getting to know new people. She left behind two little kids and a sad, caring, heartbroken husband.
Gerken was a member of the Hotmess Fitness family, a fitness training group operated by Tia Stokes, founder of Kalamity and Kaos dance group.
Through her time with the fitness group, Gerken made many friends who were able to get to know her and come to love her.
“Kylee was a special soul. She was always asking how other people were and if she could help them in any way,” Gerken’s friend, Amanda Rains, said. “She loved her kids so deeply. I will miss her laugh and her pure serving heart.”
Stokes has known Gerken since high school, she said, but it was through the Hotmess training session that Stokes really got to see Gerken shine.
“She came in and she introduced herself and just broke down in tears,” Stokes said of Gerken. “She was really wanting to love herself again.”
Stokes said that Gerken went from being very shy and self-conscious to becoming very outgoing and active with the fitness group and wanting to help others.
“She was always trying to help and give service,” Stokes said.
“We will love and miss Kylee so much, a part of our hearts are forever broken,” Dennett said.
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