Remembering Tessa: Community mourns death of 13-year-old Iola girl

Posted at 6:39 AM, Sep 30, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-30 22:37:09-04

IOLA, Texas — Inside of a gymnasium known for its maroon and white, it was packed with pink.

"She was a girly girl when she needed to be," said Matt Shive, with a small grin.

Over a thousand of family, friends and community members sat inside of the Iola High School gym, made to fit a few hundred, singing hymns and remembered 13-year-old Contessa Shive.

The teen was on her way back from church on Sept. 22 with her siblings when they got into a one-vehicle car accident.

“She was truly herself and there was nothing anyone could do to change that," Shive said, remembering his niece.


Tessa, as friends and family called her, was heavily involved in sports.

Her family's pastor joking that she liked volleyball, but loved softball.

“Everyday it’s going to be a new challenge, waking up and moving forward," Shive said. "We take a lot of comfort knowing she’s with Jesus now.”

In a time, where many people were suffering with sadness, joy joined the group.

“Tessa was a really bright light," said another family member, as she fought through tears in front of the crowd. "We will forever be grateful that we were able to witness her shining. We love you all.”

It didn't matter which direction you looked, or what seat you peered at, most people in the crowd wiped away tears listening to the somber testimony.

Through that though, Tessa's mom and the rest of the family thanked the community for coming together and showing their support.

“The support that we’ve received from friends and family and everyone around has been unfathomable," Matt Shive began. "It’s been what's getting us through all of this as easy as we can.”

Now, moving forward, without their loved one, the Shives said they remain rooted in their faith, knowing she's with God.

“We’re gonna have a big gap with her," her uncle explained. We’re gonna miss her with everything that we do.”