Funeral service remembers 3 generations of NY family
BRUSHTON, N.Y. -
As church bells rang, hundreds began filing into St. Mary's Church in Brushton to say goodbye one last time to four members of the Dana family.
"It's immeasurable to lose so many people in one family," said Kathy Bellows, who knew the family.
Laurie Dana, 42, her daughters, Caitlyn, 14, and Lauryn, 11, along with their grandmother, Janet Dana, 69, were all killed in a fiery chain reaction crash last week in Jefferson County, N.Y. Police say it happened when a tractor-trailer failed to stop in a construction zone.
"It was very emotional. We cried tears, but we also laughed as we told stories about their lives," said Father Christopher Looby of St. Mary's Church.
During the hourlong funeral service, Janet Dana was remembered as a beloved school teacher and founding member of the Moira Historical Association. Black fabric is now draped over the entrance. She was instrumental in organizing this weekend's Heritage Day parade.
"Always doing something for someone. She was just a super, super person," said Mary Griffinn, a longtime friend.
Laurie Dana, a special education speech teacher at a local school, was remembered for her smile and love, especially for her husband and two daughters. She loved bringing them to soccer practice, gymnastics and dance lessons.
Their friends called the sisters inspirations at dance class.
"They were just so flexible. Whatever they wanted to do, they tried to do it and they did it," said Shianne Yeddo, who danced with Caitlyn and Lauryn.
St. Mary's Church only has enough seats for 350 people. Another 400 watched a simulcast of the service at the Brushton-Moira Central School.
"Just as much as they supported us over the years, we are going to support them in the days ahead," Looby said.
Following the service, Janet Dana was laid to rest in one coffin; Laurie Dana and her two daughters in another.
"They always lit up the room when they walked in, the best friend you could ever ask for," said Ashley Griffin, who danced with Caitlyn and Lauryn.
Four lives lost, but four people who will never be forgotten in this small Franklin County community.
Also killed in the crash was Caitlyn's best friend, Shannon Planty, 14. Maryann Gregory, 59, of Dickinson Center, was in another car and was also killed. A DOT worker was critically injured. Prosecutors have not said whether the truck driver will face criminal charges.