Slain SFCC woman could see 'good in all people'


Glenda and David Roy Peck comfort each other at a memorial service for Amber Peck, their daughter, at The Springs RV Resort in Ocala on Friday morning.

JANNET WALSH/Ocala Star-Banner
Published: Saturday, January 14, 2006 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, January 14, 2006 at 12:00 a.m.
OCALA - Family and friends gathered outdoors Friday to mourn the death and celebrate the life of Amber Marie Peck, who they say loved nature.
"This is Amber's day. This is why we're here," her father, David Roy Peck, told a crowd of about 200 people gathered at the pavilion of the Springs RV Park off East Silver Springs Boulevard.
From an early age, she learned to appreciate the great outdoors in all its varied forms, and had planned to major in zoology and wildlife ecology at Australia's James Cook University.
Amber and a friend, John Parker, 26, both students at Santa Fe Community College, were found shot to death in the Ocala National Forest Jan. 7. A Largo man, Leo Lancing Boatman, has been charged with their slayings.
But those who loved Amber chose not to dwell on her death Friday, but to remember the joy and enthusiasm she brought to life in her 26 years.
Amber's longtime friend Amanda Jones, spoke softly and fought back tears as she recalled many years together.
"She was my best friend for 21 years," Jones recalled. "From the days we played with My Little Pony."
The friends graduated together from Mason (Mich.) High School in 1997, where Amber was active in gymnastics, cheerleading, choir and acting, said family friend Earl Johnson, a retired pastor who officiated at Friday's service.
"She could see the good in all people," Johnson said. "See seemed to ignore the flaws and frailties."
Amber's brother, David I. Peck, offered a prayer for his sister and expressed gratitude for Amber's life.
"(We're) thankful for being able to know, to love, and be touched by such a beautiful child of God," he said.
Johnson drew knowing laughter from the audience as he spoke of Amber's abilities - or lack of abilities - in the kitchen.
"She called her mother," he said, "and said 'how long do you boil a pork chop?' "
Amber's sister-in-law, Marjorie Peck, sang "Wind Beneath My Wings."
"I don't know if she realized how much she truly lifted us up," she said as an introduction to the song.
David Roy Peck announced that the family is working with Santa Fe Community College and the student environmental group Amber was a member of to establish a memorial fund at the college in her honor.
Fogle sang "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot" to close the service. As she struggled briefly to tune her guitar, she noted Amber's playful ways.
"We always sang around the campfire," Fogle said. "Amber's spirit is here. She's testing me."
Fogle sang the verses and led the audience in the chorus. She stopped playing her guitar on the last chorus, with dozens of voices echoing softly on the breeze: ". . . coming forth to carry me home."

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