A memorial of 48 candles illuminated both sides of Liberty Avenue March 22 in remembrance of Ja mie Stickle, the popular 33-year-old bartender whose body was found behind the wheel of her burning Jeep Wrangler Feb. 8.
The candles, which burned in glass globes dis played against pink triangles draped in black ribbons. were suspended from trees in the downtown blocks from Pegasus to Images, the bar where Stickle first worked more than 10 years ago.
Friends of Stickle, including Sidekicks owner Dave Morrow and Images owner Chuck Honse, lit the candles at 6pm, and volunteers led by Images manager Wayne Moon kept them burning until 2am.
The candlelight memorial was just one way in which friends celebrated Stickle’s life and mourned her death on an evening designated by downtown businesses and by city and county officials to honor her.
The March 22 events, which featured a benefit show at Pegasus, were the culmination of a three-week campaign to raise money for a reward for in formation leading to an arrest in the case.
Gay-owned businesses throughout the city on March 1 began selling “United for Jamie” buttons and T-shirts that bore the pink triangle and black ribbon symbols.
All of the door charges collected on March 22 at Images and Pegasus went to the reward fund, and bartenders at Images, Pegasus, Sidekicks and the Liberty Avenue Saloon donated their tips from the evening’s business. The staff at the Liberty Avenue Saloon also sold candles to patrons to honor Stickle’s memory.
Since Stickle’s death, the “United for Jamie” fund has raised $17,603. As of April 5, Morrow had sent checks totaling $15,473.48 to the. Lambda Foundation, which will oversee the fund. Lambda contributed an additional $1,000 to the fund, which initially had $130 in donations.
Pittsburgh City Councilman Jim Ferlo donated another $1,000. Honse told Out that Ferlo immediately offered to donate $500 when he contacted the councilman seeking permission for the candle lighting on Liberty Avenue. Ferlo doubled his initial pledge after fellow Councilman Bill Peduto and Council President Gene Ricciardi sponsored the motion to proclaim March 22 “Jamie Lynn Stickle Day.”
County Councilwoman Brenda Frazier sponsored a similar motion in Allegheny County Council. Both motions passed.
Honse and Jim Depot, another of Stickle’s friends, secured copies of the county proclamation from Frazier and presented copies of both proclamations to Jamie’s mother and stepfather, Marge and Richard Walls, and to her father and stepmother, Jim and Jeanie Stickle, at the benefit at Pegasus.
If the Allegheny County Coroner’s office rules Stickle’s death a homicide, the reward money will be given to the Pittsburgh Crime Stoppers unit, which will add $1,000 to the fund.
Police are still waiting for the coroner’s toxicol ogy report before they can officially classify Stickle’s death a homicide. At Out s deadline, no leads or motives had been uncovered, but blood and personal items found near Stickle’s vehicle have led her friends and family to suspect foul play.
If Stickle’s death is not ruled a homicide, or if no one comes forward to claim the reward, all money collected, except for the $1,000 donations from Crime Stoppers and the Lambda Foundation, will be given to the AIDS and breast cancer charities Stickle supported.
Honse said Stickle’s friends would hold a fund raiser each year around Stickle’s April 1 birthday to benefit those causes. The Lambda Foundation will administer the Jamie Lynn Stickle Fund much like the foundation’s Frank Borrelli AIDS Fund, Honse said.
“I think Jamie would have been proud of us ” Honse added. “People who don’t see each other or work together often all came together in her name. I think she would like that.”
This article originally appeared in Pittsburgh’s Out. This article is preserved as a part of the Q Archives project. Please consider donating to help preserve Pittsburgh’s Queer history.