Relatives said remarks in honor of 5-year-old Scarlett Smith, 11-year-old Jaxon Smith, 41-year-old Julie Smith and 76-year-old Josephine Fay, all of whom died in a car crash that claimed lives from three generations of the family during a trip to Disney World.
WEYMOUTH – Hundreds gathered on Saturday morning for the funeral of Whitman’s Julie Smith, her children Jaxon and Scarlett, and her mother Josephine Fay, all of whom died following a car crash that claimed lives from three generations of the family during a trip to Disney World earlier this month.
Four members of the family survived the crash without injuries – father Shane Smith, 43, grandfather William Fay, 76, and two siblings, 10-year-old Shalie Smith and 5-year-old Skylar Smith, the twin sister of Scarlett.
2020欧洲杯预选赛赛程Of that group, only Shalie spoke at Saturday’s funeral service, reading messages that she handwrote and accompanied with illustrations in a series of calling cards in honor of her deceased family members.
Shalie’s aunts, uncles and cousins joined her in speaking at the podium of Weymouth’s St. Francis Xavier Church.
Anticipating what was indeed a large turnout, attendees began filing into the modernist chapel more than an hour before the service began, saying quiet hello’s and sharing smiles across pews.
The pleasantries gave way to tears when the four caskets rolled in, accompanied by two dozen pallbearers, a large procession for a tragedy of a scale that few in the town of Whitman have experienced in recent memory.
2020欧洲杯预选赛赛程William Fay Jr. opened the morning’s remarks with memories of his mother Josephine, who died at 76.
Born to Sicilian parents, Josephine brought family members together around her dinner table, where she pressured loved ones to eat meatballs and other dishes with cries of “mangia, mangia.”
Fay Jr. called Josephine, formerly a schoolteacher, “the extrovert of extroverts, maybe even a supervert,” drawing one of the morning’s few moments of laughter.
“Mom loved us. That’s all you really need to know,” Fay Jr. said, adding, “When you’re loved, nothing else matters.”
2020欧洲杯预选赛赛程Susan Furman spoke next of her sister Julie, who she called a determined and seemingly tireless mother.
2020欧洲杯预选赛赛程Working long days at the Liberty Mutual insurance firm, she still had energy for the difficulties that came with finding and paying for the expensive medical treatments needed by her 11-year-old Jaxon, who suffered from an autoimmune disorder known by its acronym PANDAS, which he developed after a case of strep threat.
“She was Jaxon’s champion,” Furman said.
When Jaxon was denied treatment by the family’s health insurance company, Furman said, her sister refused to back down, managing to win coverage for his medical treatments.
Jaxon, who died a day after his siblings at a nearby hospital, inherited his mother’s perseverance, his relatives said.
His older cousin Christopher Leavitt described Jaxon’s struggles with PANDAS, which he suffered from as well.
2020欧洲杯预选赛赛程“If there was anything Juli taught Jaxon, it was to never back down from a challenge,” Leavitt said.
Jaxon, a “perfectionist” in the eyes of his relatives, excelled on the soccer field, his cousin said, running circles around his family members at social gatherings.
“With the ball at his feet, the field was his canvas,” Leavitt said, concluding his remarks. “Score some goals up there for us buddy.”
2020欧洲杯预选赛赛程Five-year-old Scarlett, the youngest victim of the crash, was named for her mother’s favorite movie character, Scarlett O’Hara from Gone with the Wind.
Yet she took after her father, winning relatives over with “a contagious laugh and beautiful smile that was just like Shane’s,” her aunt Sheila Condon said.
Scarlett could often be seen singing, dancing or “playing office” to mimic her parents at home, Condon said. She also occasionally snuck into Shalie’s room to steal American Girl dolls.
Scarlett’s twin Skylar was held in her aunt’s arms throughout most of the extended family’s remarks.
Fay Jr. turned to her before leaving the stage. “Scarlett lives inside you and you will always be together,” he said.
The rest of the family filled several pews toward the front of the packed church. Following their relatives’ words of remembrance, St. Francis Xavier’s priests led the remainder of the service alongside other church leaders.
2020欧洲杯预选赛赛程“The question why will taunt us and it will taunt us for years to come,” said Rev. Charles Higgins during the funeral’s homily. “The question of why only threatens to throw us into despair and depression. The question of why is not very helpful at this time.”
2020欧洲杯预选赛赛程“God could not prevent the tragedy from happening,” he said. “God does not make them happen and God cannot stop them from happening whenever it suits us.”
“This is no time for trite words offering easy assurances,” Higgins said more than once.
2020欧洲杯预选赛赛程Another church father said the tragedy was like nothing else that the St. Francis Xavier Church’s parishioners had mourned in recent memory.
2020欧洲杯预选赛赛程The funeral ended with an almost silent exodus out of the church’s main entrance onto Pleasant Street, where the pallbearers loaded each casket into a separate hearse. The thud of their rear doors shutting brought many in the crowd to tears again.
2020欧洲杯预选赛赛程Some followed the Smith and Fay families to greet them at a VFW Hall in Whitman, the town where the Smith’s lived and the children attended school. Josephine and her widowed husband William Fay come from Weymouth.
“On behalf of the Fay and Smith family, thank you for the tremendous amount of love, support and prayers offered during this unimaginably difficult time,” the funeral’s program said, in a section inviting attendees to the VFW Hall. “Your presence means more than words can say.”
2020欧洲杯预选赛赛程Many left the service with calling cards displaying the faces of the deceased. On the back of the cards were Shalie’s illustrations and handwritten messages.
“Scarlett was talented and sweet. I loved her attitude and she played with me.”
“Jaxon was athletic and energetic. He was fast and small and true to all!”
2020欧洲杯预选赛赛程“Mom was a hard worker, smart, positive and sweet. She loved to plan and was a real treat.”
“Nana was adventurous, kind and neat. I adored the way she stood up for people like me!”
Staff writer Ben Berke can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org