Amazing. Strong. Inspiring. Courageous. A mother, a sister, a friend, a leader.
These are just a few of the many words that describe Cassandra Selbach, a well-known and beloved Pahrump resident and activist, who left this life to join her Lord in heaven on Jan. 23 at the age of 35.
Selbach’s passing was greeted with great sadness by the community that she loved and faithfully served, with hundreds upon hundreds taking to social media to offer their condolences and express their sorrow. The memorial hosted in honor of Selbach drew a huge attendance as well, with people from all walks of life coming together to pay tribute to a woman who leaves behind a lasting legacy.
Selbach’s memorial took place on Saturday, Feb. 9 inside the Pahrump Nugget Events Center, which was filled with people laughing, crying and embracing one another as they shared memories of a life well lived.
“Local community leader Cassandra Selbach passed away peacefully on Wednesday, Jan. 23 after a long battle against systemic autoimmune disease,” memento literature handed out to attendees read. “Cassandra has been involved in countless community service efforts and organizations in the Pahrump community and is recognized as someone who spent every day making Pahrump a better place. Cassandra’s service to others was inspiring and the work she performed leaves behind a legacy that will never be forgotten.”
In preparation for what she knew would eventually come, Selbach began making arrangements for her memorial long before she passed, selecting several people who were especially close to her to speak in her memory. First to offer words that afternoon was Wes Clouser.
“There are two words that keep coming to mind, and it’s something that a bunch of us had discussed with Cassandra, just to call it like it is. It’s ‘this sucks.’ And can we just be honest, right? This is hard,” Clouser told the audience. “It’s truly an honor for me to be asked by Cassandra to be one of the people to stand up here and talk… We mourn, but there is joy. We have joy in knowing that she is no longer in pain.”
Clouser recalled Selbach’s deeply devout nature and her continual desire to help those around her, remarking, “She loved to serve others and she wanted to share the hope that she had from God with others. It’s just astonishing to think of everything she did, how she squeezed it in and still made time for her kids.”
He continued, “It’s definitely easy to say she was too young, 35. I know I couldn’t imagine her going through what she had been health-wise for much longer than she did. It is an absolute miracle, the stuff that she, for lack of a better word, pulled off in her state of health. She was amazing. She wasn’t too young. This God had a plan and he still does.”
Another close friend of Selbach’s, Wes Fancher, spoke next.
“If you knew her, you’d know she had an infectious joy and happiness to her, when she walked into a room, it was contagious. If you knew her, you’d know that she made people laugh, even when she got really sick… all the way up until all she was able to do was mumble one word and that word made me laugh and it was ‘tacos.’ And she grinned. See, she couldn’t eat but she made me laugh,” Fancher said with a somber chuckle. “If you knew her, you’d know that even in suffering, she was at peace and she knew exactly where it came from, Jesus Christ.”
Fancher explained that it was difficult for him to decide what to say that afternoon but it finally clicked when he realized Selbach’s own words were exactly what he would share.
“‘The reality is, life is temporary and so is the pain, trials, heartache and loneliness. And while that may sound gloomy and sad, there is actually tremendous hope and peace in that truth.’” Fancher read from excerpts of Selbach’s writing. “And she quotes from 2 Corinthians 4:17, ‘For this light, momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison.’”
Fancher quoted several more of Selbach’s paragraphs, citing the Bible passages she had noted, including Psalms 34:19 and Romans 5, all highlighting the fact that though she was ill at the end of her life and she faced struggles, she always knew that at the end she would be taken into God’s glorious presence.
Many others spoke during the memorial as well, including Selbach’s brother, D.J. Mills, and her close friend, Ryan Muccio, followed by members of the audience. Through trembling voices and tear-filled eyes there was an outpouring of stories, some funny, some inspiring, all serving to show that Selbach had touched the lives of countless people and she would never be forgotten.
Contact reporter Robin Hebrock at firstname.lastname@example.org