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Visitors wear pink to honor Kayla White

Jennifer Chamber and Mike Martindale
The Detroit News

Madison Heights – — Pink scarves, pink ties, pink shirts, pink dresses.

They were all worn Sunday to honor the memory of Kayla White, a happy and generous woman who earlier this week died in a fiery crash in Southfield that is under investigation.

On Sunday afternoon, dozens of mourners turned out for White's funeral service in Madison Heights.

Family members of White asked asked mourners to wear pink, White's favorite color.

Men wore pink neckties, women wore pink sweaters and and children donned pink dresses and hats.

Inside the funeral home, photographs, flowers and memorials of Kayla filled the room, as did a lifesize picture of the young woman who worked at Andiamo in Bloomfield Township and was on her way to work on Tuesday when she was killed.

Chelsea Duffy and Candice McNabb, who know White's fiance, Cody, said Cody spoke at the visitation, describing a woman with a fantastic smile who tried hard at everything she did

"She grew her hair out and donated it to Locks for Love," McNabb said of White.

Solange Deaneau, 29 of Ferndale, said nearly everyone inside was wearing pink in honor of White, who also lived in Ferndale.

Yet the tragic tragedy had left many numb and in shock.

"It's pretty sad, and it's pretty somber," Deaneau said

Chris Dreachslin said he saw Cody and gave him a hug Sunday.

"Everyone is hugging him. When something like this happens, it's like it's not real," he said.

White, 23, was killed in an automobile crash Tuesday afternoon on the Lodge Freeway near Telegraph Road. Police said a 69-year-old motorist in a 2002 Cadillac did not stop and slammed into the rear end of White's 2003 Jeep Liberty, flipping the vehicle, setting it on fire and causing her death.

White was pregnant and in her third trimester at the time of the crash, officials said.

The service will be at 7 p.m. Sunday at Hopcroft Funeral Home at 31145 John R in Madison Heights.

The SUV was part of a Chrysler Group LLC recall campaign last year of 1.56 million 2002-07 Jeep Libertys and 1993-2004 Jeep Grand Cherokees at risk of catching fire when struck from behind.

The Auburn Hills automaker issued the callback following a request from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration after an investigation found the defect was connected to 37 fatal rear-end collisions resulting in 51 deaths — including at least five fatal crashes involving Libertys that resulted in seven deaths.

Southfield attorney Gerald Thurswell, who is representing White's family, said Friday the family is aware of the recall. He declined to answer questions about the police crash investigation and vehicle fire, but said the family is pursuing a lawsuit against the automaker.

jchambers@detroitnews.com