Hundreds filled the St. Elizabeth Catholic Church in Lyndonville to remember a woman who lived admirably, but died terribly.
"She was a good friend to a lot of people," said Greg Bryant, a friend and neighbor of Pat O'Hagan.
They came to honor O'Hagan, the feisty and vibrant grandmother Vermont State Police say was kidnapped from her Sheffield home, and found in nearby Wheelock, murdered.
"As unfortunate as it was during the time of the search, there was always the hope she was going to be found alive. I think now that that's not going to happen, the sadness is still settling in," said Rev. Pat Forman, Pat O'Hagan's priest.
At the service, a standing-room-only crowd leaned on each other for support, often crying. They remembered Pat O'Hagan as someone who loved the outdoors, loved volunteering, and cared deeply about the people of the Northeast Kingdom. They said she lived every day as if it was a gift. "She didn't waste a moment. It's really a great inspiration for people," Bryant said.
Bryant wants Vermonters to take a lesson from Pat O'Hagan: that age is just a number. She camped, kayaked, helped preserve crumbling buildings, and fed the needy at the Sheffield Food Pantry, seemingly never tiring, even at 78 years old. "You can still enjoy your life. You can still be active, and still be productive. And you can still help people," he said.
In the eulogy, O'Hagan's children wrote that they'll never understand why anyone would want to hurt their mom. Many say there's an open wound in the Kingdom that won't heal until police arrest a killer. "We're praying for the police officers, so they can continue their work and be able to discover who did this and bring them to justice," Rev. Forman said.
After the service, Pat O'Hagan was brought to the cemetery down the road from her home in Sheffield. She was laid to rest next to her late husband, Ed. Their children are keeping in mind this Irish blessing their mom loved: "May joy and peace surround you both, contentment latch your door, and happiness be with you now and God bless you evermore."
A $20,000 reward is being offered for information that helps police solve the case. They're asking the public to call them with tips at the barracks in St. Johnsbury at 802-748-3111 or the State Police Crime Information Tip Line at 802-241-5355. One particular area of interest to investigators is the Horn Road in Wheelock, where hunters found O'Hagan's body. If you saw anything suspicious on that road in the past month, police would like to hear from you.
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