It was a tearful day of mourning in Medford as friends and family gathered to pay their final respects to Boston Marathon bombing victim Krystle Campbell on Monday morning.
Campbell, 29, was one of three people killed in the Boston Marathon bombing on April 15.
Scores of people lined the sidewalk across from St. Joseph Church on High Street as a police motorcade slowly led a procession of cars from the Dello Russo Funeral Home in South Medford to the Medford Square church.
“It just makes you realize how close something so terrible can happen,” said Cudworth Street resident Marie Mazzeo, who was standing amid a sea of people on the sidewalk. “It doesn’t matter that it’s our city… it’s so unfair to everybody who was affected.”
Medford resident Ramona Jones was particularly devastated by the loss. Campbell was good friends with her children and often used to visit them at her home.
“Devastated is an understatement,” said Jones. “My kids were shocked, couldn’t believe it.”
Jones said it was the first time her two children — Randy, 29, and Dominique, 24 — had someone so close to them die. She added the way Campbell lost her life was especially hard to grasp.
“No one wants to bury their own child,” Jones said. “I feel so bad for the mom, but I believe Krystle is in a better place now.”
Medford City Council Vice President Fred Dello Russo Jr., whose family owns the Dello Russo Funeral Home, described the large turnout as a testament to both the strength of the community and the kind of person Campbell was.
“She has so many friends and people who flew from all over the country to pay their respects,” said Dello Russo. “It’s because of who she is.”
A large number of Teamsters also assembled on High Street, preparing to serve as human shields in case members of the Westboro Baptist Church acted on threats made the previous week to protest the funerals of Boston Marathon bombing victims.
“We’re here to represent Medford and support the family,” said Chad Murphy, a Medford resident and member of the Boston Crew Motorcycle Club. “We’re also looking to make a stand should anyone show up to protest this funeral.”
Murphy was one of several people holding a large American flag to show support and solidarity for the Campbell family and for the nation.
“As soon as we heard there was a Medford person involved, we wanted to do something,” said Murphy, adding his group is also actively raising money and offering whatever other assistance it can to help the Campbell family through this trying time.
Gov. Deval Patrick, interim U.S. Senator Mo Cowan and U.S. Congressman Ed Markey were also among those who attended the funeral in Medford Square on April 22.
Page 2 of 2 - Roman Catholic Cardinal and Boston Archbishop Sean Patrick O’Malley also delivered moving remarks during the ceremony, according to City Councilor Rick Caraviello, who attended the funeral.
Following the ceremony, friends and family left St. Joseph Church for Oak Grove Cemetery on Playstead Road. There, two volunteers were waiting with American flags hoisted in the air to show their support for the family.
One of those volunteers was Jerry Bowser, who lives right next to the cemetery.
“This is about coming together,” said Bowser. “It shouldn’t take a tragedy like this to convince people to put a flag on their home.”
Police officers from departments around the area lined up along the green grass next to the spot where Campbell will be laid to rest.
A large mass of friends and family slowly trickled behind the police, coming in waves by way of a long string of cars in the funeral procession.
Family members took their seats on velvet-covered chairs, just a few feet away from the casket, which was draped in colorful flowers.
St. Joseph Church Pastor, the Rev. George “Chip” Hines, read a passage from the scriptures and joined others in reciting the Lord’s Prayer before scores of loved ones moved in closer to the casket.
With tears welling in some eyes, loved ones crowded around the casket — praying, dropping flowers and embracing each other — looking for the strength to say final farewells to a 29-year-old woman who many say left this life far too soon.