SIERRA VISTA - Slain Border Patrol agent Nicholas Ivie died in a "beautiful" area he knew well, his brother told mourners Monday at the agent's funeral service.

Joel Ivie said his younger brother had even buried the sensor that was tripped, prompting Ivie and two other agents into the darkness early last Tuesday when he was fatally shot in what federal investigators believe was an exchange of "friendly" gunfire. Ivie apparently opened fire first and wounded one of the other agents but was killed in the return fire, officials have said.

An instructor in the Border Patrol's horse patrol, Nicholas Ivie frequently rode in the hills east of Bisbee about five miles north of the U.S.-Mexico border, said Joel Ivie, a fellow member of the horse patrol team in the Border Patrol's station in Naco.

"He was one of the few agents that went up regularly in those hills," Joel Ivie said during the eulogy. "He knew all that network of trails up in the mountain there. He died in a peaceful place, and although it may have been a traumatic experience, he did die peacefully."

Nicholas Ivie was remembered as a kind, considerate and honest man during a nearly two-hour memorial service in Sierra Vista that attracted about 1,000 family, friends and fellow members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Gov. Jan Brewer, U.S. Customs and Border Protection Deputy Commissioner David Aguilar and U.S. Border Patrol Chief Michael Fisher were in attendance.

Nicholas Ivie loved horses and big trucks.

And he adored his wife and two young daughters.

Friend and fellow agent Aaron Kerr read a "cowboy poem" Ivie penned for his wife while away training at the Border Patrol academy in Artesia, N.M., years ago. The rhyming love letter, which told the story of how he met and fell in love with his wife, Christy, drew chuckles from people who filled the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints meetinghouse in Sierra Vista.

"There once was a girl who caught my eye," the poem began. "There was something about her that made me feel I could fly."

It featured lines like this: "Hello, she said, I like your truck. Hmmm, I wondered, should we go get it stuck?" and "She laughed and said she thought I was funny. So I decided to make her my honey."

During the eulogy, his brother Joel recounted Nicholas Ivie's joyful journey through life.

Born in Charleston, S.C., as the youngest of five children, Ivie and his family moved to Provo, Utah, when he was 2 years old, and that's where he grew up. Nicholas Ivie was always a happy kid with a smile, even after he broke his jaw when he accidentally hit his face on the side of the pool, his brother said. It was that accident that led to his love of horses.

The doctor told him not to play contact sports for awhile, so his mother took him for horse-riding lessons. He loved it, and horses became a lifelong passion.

The horse he rode in the Border Patrol was a tamed mustang whose frozen-off ear tips gave him rounded ears that earned him the nickname "Mouse."

Mouse walked with an empty saddle and Ivie's boots in the stirrups in a horse-led procession that brought Ivie's body from a Sierra Vista funeral home to the meetinghouse on Monday morning.

"He loved that horse," Joel Ivie said. "Nick and Mouse had a special relationship."

After graduating high school in 2000, Nicholas Ivie served his Mormon mission in Mexico City and came home to study to be a paramedic and EMT and volunteer at a fire department. After he married Christy, who also is from Utah, the couple moved to Arizona in January 2008 so Ivie could begin his Border Patrol career.

Ivie, who would have turned 31 years old Saturday, was a devoted father to his two daughters, Raigan, 3, and Presley, 1.

Ivie was naturally introverted, preferring a life of quiet dignity. Still, everyone in his Sierra Vista neighborhood knew him as the dad who spent his time outside playing with his daughters, Kerr said.

"Wherever Nick was, his two daughters were always close by," Kerr said. "Nick loves his two precious daughters. … No child has every been blessed with a more loving father."

As an agent, Ivie was patient and determined. He had a gift for tracking due to his hunting background, Kerr said.

"He seemed to have this sixth sense about where to find groups," Kerr said.

Ivie was also a devoted member of his church, said leaders in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The Sunday before his death Ivie had started a new role in the church helping lead services.

And he was known in the church for his selfless acts and generosity.

"His heart was pure and his hands were clean," said Spencer Forsberg, bishop in the Mormon church in Sierra Vista.

Ivie aced the test we are faced with when put on Earth, said Kevin Goates, president of the Sierra Vista stake of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

"He had faith in Christ, he kept his commandments. He loved and cherished his wife and family," said Goates.

"He was so kind and served his fellow man. He served his country with honor and fell in the line of duty. That makes him a hero."

If Nicholas Ivie were here today, his brother told mourners, he would tell people to "cowboy up," live a life of charity and ask only that people take care of his wife and two girls.

"The sting of death is painful for those of us left behind," Joel Ivie said.

"But Nick is in a good place … I know our separation is temporary."

On Starnet: See more photos from the funeral at

"He was so kind and served his fellow man. He served his country with honor and fell in the line of duty. That makes him a hero."

Kevin Goates,

president of the Sierra Vista stake of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Contact reporter Brady McCombs at 573-4213 or On Twitter @BradyMcCombs.