‘They were family to us’: Friend remembers Gardner couple killed in motorcycle crash

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GARDNER, Kan. — A well-known Gardner couple is being remembered after they struck a deer on their motorcycle, killing them. Those who knew Jason and Julie Huen say there’s a hole in their heart that the couple used to fill.

“We treat each other as family and they were family to us,” Friend Gloria Phelps said.

She met the Gardner couple through a game on their phones and a group called “Pokemon Go Gardner.”

“They were kind and generous people and this loss to the PGG family is devastating,” Phelps said, “It’s a devastating lost.”

Jason and Julie were killed in a motorcycle crash Saturday night. Authorities say the couple was headed north on I-35, near 167th St. when they hit a deer and crashed into a guardrail.

“The way they connected to people,” Phelps said, “The way they reached out had the ability to make a friend they didn’t know any strangers.”

Phelps said they were very active in the community and everyone in Gardner knew the story of their Christmas tree. In December of 2017, FOX4 talked with the couple about it.

“The city has loved watching us and follow us bring the tree in,” Julie previously told FOX4.

“My wife loves Christmas. She wanted the biggest we could find,” Jason said.

In their living room stood a huge tree decorated with 1,500 lights and about 500 ornaments. They invited all inside to see.

“And said show up, come take your picture, come hang out with us, come into our home and be a part of Christmas in our family in our community,” Phelps explained, “That’s the type of people they were.”

Jason and Julie leave behind three children. Phelps wants their loved ones to know through something as simple as “Pokemon Go,” they’ve caught a family for life.

Julie’s family sent a statement to FOX4 Sunday night saying “they always wore their helmets and protective gear every time they rode, it’s very unfortunate that that didn’t save them but they always made sure to be extra cautious. They just died doing something they truly loved and enjoyed.”

The family is asking for privacy at this time.

“Both Julie and Jason were loved by many, and will be deeply missed.”

“Even though their mom and dad are no longer here, their “Pokemon” family is here.” Phelps said with tears in her eyes. “I hope that they’re looking down and I hope that they know and believe and trust we have their back still.”

Phelps said she’s working with the family to set up a memorial fund for the children and funeral costs. They plan to meet Monday at Arvest Bank in Gardner. FOX4 will update this story on how you can help the family.

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