Independence ExaminerStory last updated at 11:02 AM on Friday, December 9, 2005
Summer's many friends share memories of her
The slide show depicted a woman who loved funny hats, travel and smiling, while the guests spoke of a woman who loved life, family and friends.
Exactly one year after Summer Shipp disappeared from an Independence neighborhood her family and friends gathered at the Screenland Theater in Kansas City to pay tribute to the life of the woman they loved.
"Even when she was in a hurry and running a little late, she'd see something that caught her eye and just get caught up in it," said Summer's brother, Dan McCullough. "She taught me to stop and appreciate the moment."
Shipp, who was 54 when she disappeared, was doing door-to-door surveys in Independence on Dec. 8, 2004. When she didn't return to work the next day a boss contacted her daughter, Brandy. Two days later, Summer's car was found in the Forest Avenue and College Terrace neighborhood where she had been working. Her disappearance is still a mystery.
Summer's Girls, a group of Summer's friends, planned Thursday's event. Summer organized the group, which gathers once a month for a girls' night out.
Julie Walters, one of Summer's Girls, said most of the women didn't know each other until Summer introduced them. Now, they've banded together to support Brandy.
"We've had to carry on for Summer," Walters said. "I feel like Summer introduced me to Brandy to support her."
Brandy said before the tribute she was looking forward to seeing a lot of people.
As people recalled their fondest memories of Summer, Brandy fought back tears.
"I'm never going to give up," she told the guests. "I'm going to continue searching for clues until I find out what happened to my mother."
Through the tears, there was a lot of laughter as people joked about Summer's quirks. Brandy's dad, John Shipp, told a story about when he and Summer were married.
The couple had a dog named Annie Annie Annie. John came home from work one day to a crying Summer. When he asked her what was wrong, Summer told him she worried she'd never be able to love her baby as much as she love Annie Annie Annie. He joked the dog quickly became an outside dog as soon as Brandy was born.
"She never lost her feeling of delight and her feeling of surprise," John said. "She was fascinated by things that would bore me and most people to tears."
John thanked the Independence police for their work on the case. Police Chief Fred Mills and other detectives from the Independence Police Department came to offer their support as well as Kansas City Councilman Alvin Brooks.
Police still have no new information in the case, but ask anyone with a tip call the TIPS Hotline at 474-TIPS or the Web site visit friendsofsummer.com.
To reach Stephanie Boothe, send e-mail to stephanie.boothe @examiner.net or call her at (816) 350-6392.