THOMASBORO- He led the church that protested hundreds of military funerals, and families hope one man's death brings change.
"He hurt a lot of people," says Christina Penrod of Fred Phelps who founded Westboro Baptist Church.
He died Wednesday night but left behind bitter memories for many families of the fallen.
It's a day Christina Penrod will never forget, but says she's spoken to many other military widows about Phelps.
Their one hope is that the messages of hate die with him.
"It was love at first sight. We went on our first date and he never left," says Christina Penrod.
That is until August 11th 2007 when Army Specialist Justin Penrod was killed in Baghdad.
"He was the love of my life and he was just like..he would step in the room and he would just light it up," says Penrod.
Penrod says her memory of the one day she had to say goodbye is blurred, because of Westboro Baptist Church.
"One person had the typical sign God Hates Fags and the other one was thank God for dead soldiers. It was really hurtful, there I am burying my husband and I see this. He went over there and fought for your freedom to protest his funeral," says Penrod.
Now seven years later its safe to say Christina Penrod isn't sad to see Fred Phelps go.
He founded Westboro and died in hospice at 84 years old.
"I'm glad that he died because I am hoping that it will stop the protesting even though it probably wont. I read a line that they don't want protestors at his funeral. And I thought how ironic because there are going to be people out there," says Penrod.
Penrod says if she could ask him one thing.
"I would ask him why what made you so hatred about everybody that you had to go protest military funerals," says Penrod.
Penrod's son Colin was only 8 months old when his dad died.
She's worked hard to make sure he's remembered and says that's why she won't tell him about the protests until he's old enough.
"I don't want him to know that people put ill will towards his dad and that people protested him. He is seven he doesn't need to know the bad about the world, he needs to know the good. And the good was that his daddy fought and his daddy died and we are living free because of daddy," says Penrod.
There haven't been reports of whether or not the church will stop.
However, a look at the website shows no break in their picket schedule.