GF woman remembered for unique laugh, caring spirit
Careen Kreider had a signature laugh.
"Her laugh was infectious and unique," said Kreider's daughter, Bobbi Bierau. "I am blessed to have inherited this laugh so much that when people who knew her heard me laugh, they would ask, 'Do you know Careen?' "
Kreider, a 43-year-old Green Forest resident, died in a car accident on Aug. 24. A report from the Arkansas State Police notes that Kreider left the roadway while negotiating a curve on Highway 103; though she steered her vehicle back onto the road, the report says she crossed the center line and was struck by another vehicle. The accident happened at 11:09 p.m.
Kreider moved to Carroll County with husband Steve Kreider and daughter Bierau after the company she worked for in California closed. She began working at Walmart in Berryville in 2010, leaving the job last year to take care of her granddaughter so that Bierau could further her education.
Holly Bentzinger, Kreider's former coworker, noted the way she laughed as well. Bentzinger described Kreider as "always laughing."
"I loved her laugh. Her laugh was one of those laughs that would make you start laughing and you couldn't stop laughing," Bentzinger said.
Bentzinger recalled going to work the day after Kreider's death and finding it difficult to walk through the doors. Once she entered Walmart, Bentzinger said, she broke down.
"I was just a few feet into the store and I just started crying," Bentzinger said.
Bentzinger said Kreider cared about everyone. She noted how Kreider took care of her after she injured herself at work; Kreider wheeled her throughout the store, Bentzinger said, and lifted everyone's spirits in the process.
"It was such a traumatic moment because I had hit my head and I couldn't tell how bad it was. She started zooming me through the store and we just started laughing," Bentzinger said. "She was such a caring person."
Kreider loved working at Walmart, Bierau said, because she worked with people on a daily basis.
"She poured her heart into everything she did," Bierau said.
The Kreider family's move to Carroll County was another example of Kreider's caring nature. The family moved to Northwest Arkansas, Bierau said, so that Kreider could take care of her mother, Nancy Works. Works described Kreider as "inherently helpful."
Bierau recalled her mother's helpfulness; when Bierau was recovering from surgery, she said, Kreider took off work to bathe and feed her.
"She lived for everyone but herself. If you needed a shoulder to cry on, she was there. If you needed anything, she did everything in her power to help you," Bierau said.
Kreider met her husband while working at a furniture company in California, and the two married after a year of dating. Bierau said Steve Kreider seamlessly blended into the family.
"I was a hard-headed teenager with my own ideas but he loved me just the same. He was the missing puzzle piece to our family, and he made her so happy," Bierau said.
Bierau thanked Carroll County Sheriff's Office Deputy Jon White, the officer who informed Kreider's family of the accident. When Bierau and her family broke down, Bierau said, White sat down and played blocks with her daughter to distract her.
"Our family is grateful to him," Bierau said.
She said she'd also like to reach out to the other family involved in the accident; the other driver was not injured, but Bierau said the fatal accident is traumatic for everyone involved.
"We know how bad we hurt in this time and cannot imagine what they are going through," Bierau said.
If the other driver or anyone in the driver's family would like to contact Kreider's family, Bierau said, Facebook would be the best way to do that. Kreider, Bierau continued, would want the other driver to know everything is OK.
"Her love was unconditional, and she made sure everyone knew it and could count on her. She will be missed every day," Bierau said.
Kreider's family will host a private memorial service for close friends and family on Saturday, Aug. 29, at their home.