Amy Beth Hinton departed from this world before she could be united until death with the love of her life, Shon Derr.
They had a 17-year relationship and were supposed to be united in marriage last Saturday at Buhl Farm park in Hermitage.
The wedding was something Hinton had lovingly planned, her life-long friend, Dr. Michelle Thompson of Hermitage, said.
"Save-the-date cards were out, the dress was bought, the centerpieces, florist, the cake, the DJ," Thompson wrote in an e-mail. "The pastor was arranged."
But Hinton died April 10 of a pulmonary embolism, or blood clot.
Pastor James Reardon officiated at her funeral instead of the wedding, Thompson wrote.
It made Saturday bittersweet for her friends and family, who gathered at the park anyway, thanks to Thompson, who planned a 5K "Run for Love," followed by a bench dedication to memorialize Hinton.
T-shirts in the planned wedding colors of brown and orange were donated by the law firm of Douglas, Joseph and Olson -- firm partner Shawn Olson is Thompson's husband — and several Shenango Valley restaurants and businesses donated to a Chinese auction that raised more than $3,000 for the bench and to start a scholarship fund in Hinton's honor.
"It was bittersweet," Hinton's sister, Kelly Hinton-Logan, told The Sharon Herald last Sunday. "She was an amazing person."
The sisters were close and Amy was "an awesome aunt, Hinton-Logan said.
"She just loved my children," Hinton-Logan said. "She was a loving person. She had so many friends."
They came out in droves to remember her, Thompson said.
"It was almost overwhelming, what they did," Hinton-Logan said.
Organizing something to make Saturday special was something Thompson wanted to do after a lot of prayer during the grieving process.
She grew up with Amy, who was her best friend. She was also Amy's doctor, something that made her death doubly devastating.
"She was an absolutely wonderful person who everybody loved," Thompson said. "She was truly a delightful person. Her smile was contagious."
Thompson purchased a memorial brick that was laid in Hinton's honor at the Buhl Farm casino. She decided to organize Saturday's benefit, which raised enough money to buy a bench that was dedicated Saturday, and a scholarship fund for future beauticians/cosmetologists was set up in honor of Hinton, who worked at Lindy's At The Beach in Hermitage.
The weather held out for the events on Saturday, although Thompson admitted it was an emotionally-charged day.
"It was mixed emotions," she said. "One hundred fifty people came together, and everybody was just so supportive. It was good for Shon to have the family around.
"It was good," she said.
Pastor Reardon offered prayers and a wedding cake was cut to cap the event, Thompson said.
"Amy's brother Cory happily smashed the cake into Shon's face (because that is what Amy would have done)," Thompson wrote in an email.
Amy's parents Dulcie Hinton-Brush and Robert Hinton came in from Florida, the groom's brother Markis Derr was in from Virginia, her brother Corey Hinton and his daughter Harley came from Florida, and Amy and Shon's son Andy Grace came from Washington Crossing, Pa.
Hinton-Logan — the planned matron of honor — was a huge help in making the event a success, Thompson said. Hinton's friends Amiee Matthews and Deena Brindza also helped Thompson plan the day.
"It was just perfect," Thompson said. "Everybody really came together; it was so nice."