Friends Grieve Over Loss of "Best Friend"

By KBJR News 1

December 31, 2011 Updated Dec 31, 2011 at 11:35 PM CDT

Cloquet, MN (Northland's NewsCenter) - Ever since it first opened its doors, Gordy's Warming House has been considered by the community a place to mingle, and to catch up with old friends.
On Saturday, however, it served as a place where friends could come together to celebrate the life of someone who would be dearly missed.

"She's one of the people I know that would go out of her way to do something for someone she didn't even know," said Chris Domogalla, Tassone's boyfriend.

Domogalla said making others happy was part of who she was.

"That's how she got happy—making other people happy," said Domogalla.

Domogalla recalled an experience he had with Tassone on one of their earlier dates, where Tassone insisted he pulled over at a local diner: "She made me stop, get something to eat, and go and give it to a homeless guy."

According to Natasha Couillard—Tussone's best friend—her selflessness is what defined her.

"She was beautiful, inside and out. She was the most loving person I've ever met. She would do anything for anybody," said Couillard.

Tassone made this clear every time she worked at the Diamond Willow Assisted Living Center in Cloquet.

"She wishes she could be there for every single person in their last moment, just to hold their hand, just to be with them so they weren't alone," said Couillard.

Even at her other job as a server at the Cloquet Applebees, friends and co–workers say Tassone shared her lively spirit with the crew on a daily basis.

"Even our managers couldn't be mad at her for goofing off, because she was just so funny," said Couillard.

One didn't need to leave the Warming House to encounter others whose lives Tassone had touched.

"Any time I'd go to work with her, I knew it was going to be a good day," said Katrina Anderson, a friend and co-worker at Applebees.

"I liked stunting with her, she was really funny," said cheerleading teammate Rikki Ruhanen.

For Tussone's friends and family, losing her during such a festive season makes it all the more surreal.

"I'm happy she got to be there for Christmas, because I knew that was her favorite," said Couillard.

But—for Domogalla and Couillard—remembering who Stephanie was, and the life lessons learned through her, will make the mourning process—if only slightly—easier.

"And every day I will live my life through Stephanie, because she taught me so much," said Couillard.

Funeral services for Tassone are scheduled for Tuesday, January 3rd, at the Queen of Peace Church, in Cloquet.