Erica “Susy” Kelley was known as the owner of a Kennewick coffee and ice cream shop and for a 2013 appearance on a reality TV show. She also was a great mother and wife to her family.
Kelley, 28, died April 22 — Earth Day — of unknown causes.
Her husband, Anthony Swift, said she enjoyed planting flowers, so the date was significant.
“Her favorite time of year was spring time,” he said.
Flowers lined the doorstep and porch Monday at Purple Peaches at 1400 W. 27th Ave. Balloons flew from the railings with inspirational messages meant to let Kelley know she was gone but not forgotten.
Kelley loved her two children, Payton Swift, 5, and Parker Swift, 3, even more than spring, Anthony Swift said.
“She was the best mom in the world, she was just the happiest woman,” he said. “She made sure they ate their fruits and vegetables. If you put fruit down, they’re going to eat fruit.”
But she balanced the nutrition with fun, allowing them to ride on four-wheelers and climb trees, Swift said.
The Herald wrote about Kelley in 2012, when she helped raise money for a 6-year-old girl who had a rare tumor. Her husband said helping others was something Kelley did every day.
Kelley would walk her young nephew across the busy intersection at West 27th Avenue and South Olympia Street near the coffee shop each day while he was coming home from school, Swift said.
“If she wasn’t working, she still made sure she went and got him,” he said.
Kelley and Swift traveled to Puerto Rico in 2013 to have their wedding ceremony televised on the TLC reality show Wedding Island. Zaniness ensued when too many people were invited to stay in the villa they had booked and they had to find someplace for them to stay.
Kelley applied to take part in the show while the couple was living in New Orleans, Swift said.
“They called back and paid for everything,” he said.
The couple was never legally married because they didn’t get the paperwork in time for the televised ceremony, but they were together 7 years, Swift said. The second anniversary of the ceremony was April 26.
Kelley opened Purple Peaches with help from her mother about 6 years ago, while in her early 20s. She sold the business to her brother when she moved to New Orleans, but bought it back last year when she returned, Swift said.
Kelley’s family is not sure what caused her death. They took her to Trios Southridge Hospital with a 105-degree temperature on April 16 and two more times in the coming week, but were sent home each time, Swift said. She died shortly after being taken to the hospital a fourth time.
An autopsy was performed on Kelley, but the cause of death will not be determined until toxicology results come back, according to the Benton County Coroner’s Office.
Funeral services are pending, Swift said.