(Host) Funeral services for Linda Lambesis were held this morning in Essex Junction.
Lambesis was shot and killed in her home in Essex on Thursday.
Police have charged 27-year-old Christopher Williams with the shooting deaths of Lambesis, and Alicia Shanks, who was killed in her classroom at Essex Elementary School.
About 600 people arrived for this morning’s service, including a school bus load of teachers and staff from St. Albans, where Lambesis was a 2nd grade teacher.
VPR’s Lynne McCrea reports:
(Organ music plays from windows of church.)
(McCrea) The First Congregational Church is just steps from the busy Five Corners intersection in Essex Junction. People filled the brick sanctuary and the vestry, and a small crowd stood outside to follow the service by loudspeaker.
The family asked that the media not record inside the church, but they were welcome to attend the service.
During a time of remembrance, several friends spoke about Lambesis’s devotion to her two daughters, Jen and Andrea, and of her love for teaching.
One friend read a letter written by Andrea to her mother. It referred to a recent conversation the mother and daughter had, and how Andrea was nervous about her first day of teaching in a new position at school. Linda Lambesis reassured her daughter: “The day I’m not nervous, I’ll retire.”
One of those speaking was Judy Still, who moved to Essex in 8th grade, and became a lifelong friend of Linda Lambesis. After the service, she described Lambesis as the kind of friend who said what she thought, and was also very accepting.
(Still) “She did that through laughter. She welcomed me on that first day when I went into 8th grade and she was just a friend to all of us. She just touched our hearts.”
(McCrea) The service was officiated by Reverends Roger and Sandra Daly. In recognition of the family’s Greek Orthodox traditions, the casket was carried out of the sanctuary and placed to the left of the church, where Father Robert Athas gave a final blessing and benediction.
(The sound of blessing is heard in the distance)
For Vermont Public Radio, I’m Lynne McCrea