Friends, family, colleagues honor fallen Border Patrol agent Nick Ivie

Published: Thursday, Oct. 11 2012 1:08 p.m. MDT

Border Patrol Agent Joel Ivie and his father, Doug Ivie, hug at the end of a graveside ceremony for their brother and son, Border Patrol Agent Nicholas J. Ivie, in Spanish Fork, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012. At back left are Christy Ivie, wife of Nicholas J. Ivie, and their 3-year-old daughter, Raigan.

Ravell Call, Deseret News

SPANISH FORK — Christy Ivie cried as a U.S. Border Patrol agent and friend somberly led her husband's horse with his cowboy boots turned backward in the stirrups past his flag-draped casket at the city cemetery.

Until then, the grief-stricken mother of two young daughters appeared to hold her composure throughout the funeral and burial services for Border Patrol agent Nicholas J. Ivie. With her girls at her side, she dabbed her eyes as the strains of "Abide With Me" followed from a lone bagpiper.

Ivie was laid to rest Thursday following a funeral in the UCCU Center at Utah Valley University. Hundreds of people, including uniformed officers from federal, state and local police agencies, attended the service. Spanish Fork residents, many holding American flags, lined Main Street as the funeral procession made its way to the cemetery.

Friends, family and fellow Border Patrol agents honored Ivie with moving glimpses into what all described as a life well lived.

Joel Ivie shared stories from his brother's childhood through their time serving together on the horse patrol in the mountains along the U.S.-Mexican border in southeastern Arizona.

Ivie's horse, he said, was once a wild mustang that had the pointed tips of its ears frozen off, leaving them rounded. Ivie named it Mouse.

"Nick loved that horse," Joel Ivie said. "He was always hugging that horse."

Ivie, 30, died Oct. 2 in a friendly fire incident in southeastern Arizona. He and two other agents responded from different directions to a ground sensor in a mountainous area known for drug smuggling near the Mexican border.

Ivie, who was on horseback, apparently opened fire first, wounding one of the other agents. He was killed in the return fire.

Born in South Carolina, Ivie grew up in Provo and attended Timpview High School. He trained to be a firefighter, EMT and paramedic and worked as a volunteer with Spanish Fork EMS. He joined the Border Patrol in January 2008.

David V. Aguilar, deputy commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, also referred to Ivie's horse, saying Mouse was tough and high-spirited, just like its rider.

It takes a unique breed of individual to join the Border Patrol, Aguilar said. He said he worked more than 30 years in the agency with agents like Ivie, "So I know of his character, so I know of his fiber, so I know of his mettle."

Aguilar also spoke directly to Ivie's daughters, 3-year-old Raigan, and Presley, 22 months. He told them he wanted them to know who their daddy was, calling Ivie a good man, a patriot and someone who others looked up to.

He said 15 or 20 years from now, when they look around at the country, "I want you to know your father was a big part of that way of life, that American way of life."

Border Patrol agent and neighbor Ted Stanley said Ivie encouraged him to give the horse patrol a try, even though he knew nothing about horses. Stanley did and recalled the only time he and Ivie were able to pull a shift together.

Ivie, he said, took him to his favorite spot in the mountains near the border to show him the trails and share what he knew about the area.

"That's all I needed," said Stanley, the agent who led a riderless Mouse past the casket.

Stanley lives across the street from the Ivies in Sierra Vista, Ariz. His children and the Ivie children played together, and Ivie was usually in the middle of it. He sometimes knocked on the Stanleys' door to tell their 12-year-old son about a snake or tarantula he'd found.

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