Beth’s family, friends and fans came together at the Heritage Christian Center in Colorado on Saturday to celebrate her life and legacy at a memorial service held in her honour, where Duane got emotional as he talked about Beth. Beth died on June 26 at the age of 51 after a battle with cancer.
“Bethy, you see this?” Duane exclaimed, before he began to talk about how he met Beth and their first date. “She was our lion tamer in the Chapman family.”
“I cannot believe that she is gone. This is not possible,” he said as he became visibly emotional. He then explained that after she found out that she had cancer, all Beth wanted to do was keep working with him. “‘I don’t want to do [chemo] because I want to be by your side,'” Duane said Beth told him.
“I never admitted that she was going to die. I wanted to keep her alive,” he said, adding, “I don’t know right now [how I am going to make it without her].”
“I still haven’t let her go,” Duane expressed. “She will never be dead to me. She is [just] in another place…”
“[Losing your loved one] is one of the worst feelings a man or woman could ever have. I never felt this bad. I’m sad,” he told the audience, wiping away tears.
The 2-hour service began with a beautiful rendition of “How Great Thou Art,” followed by some words from Pastor Marlon Saunders and Beth’s close friends, including “Dog’s Most Wanted” co-star Rainy Robinson.
Other special and heartwarming moments during the celebration of life included the couple’s 9-year-old granddaughter, Madalynn Grace Galanti, reading a scripture dedicated to her late grandmother. Beth and Duane’s daughter, Bonnie, also took the stage to share some heartbreaking words about her “rock.”
“I never imagined I would lose my mom at 20. I never thought that I would have to walk down the aisle without her,” she began. “I never imagined a life without her and it’s really tough now being without her. I lost my rock…I never imagined having to write a speech about this and I’ll never forget my mother.”
“The world is not the same without my mother,” she continued, as she began to tear up. “To not be able to call her, to not hear her say my name anymore, it’s heartbreaking…Beth Chapman will never be forgotten and that is something I can say with confidence.”
Additionally to Duane’s request, their son Gary also briefly spoke about his mom. “I don’t think it’s hit me yet, of what has happened to my mom. I love her and she was there for me,” he expressed, before tearing up thinking about how Beth will no longer be there during his most important life events.
ET spoke exclusively with 66-year-old Duane on Wednesday to talk about his upcoming “Dog The Bounty Hunter” spinoff — “Dog’s Most Wanted”, set to air on WGN America — and he broke down in tears while talking about grieving the loss of Beth.
“[With any] new experience that you have, you don’t know how you’re doing because you’ve never experienced it,” Duane said. “I have a lot of people who depend on me. All my supervisors said, ‘Dog, it’s time to man up.’ So I’m trying to man up.”
“There is not another Beth,” he added. “There’ll never be another Beth. There ain’t a girl built like another Beth.”
Duane also shared why he hasn’t been able to fulfill one of Beth’s final wishes — for him to scatter some of her ashes.
“You know, I was going to do all the scattering, and then I looked at it and thought, ‘I’m not gonna throw you, like, away. I’m just gonna throw you away and start over?’ I can’t do that,” he said. “I haven’t gotten past the place where I’m still putting a pillow where she was, and covering it up, like the jailhouse escape, right? I mean it. And then I wake up in the middle of the night and I see her and it doesn’t register that ain’t her. I’m still there.”
Watch the video below for more of our exclusive with Duane.