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Krystle Campbell funeral: Bomb victim recalled as 'always smiling'

April 22, 2013|By Maria L. La Ganga

MEDFORD, Mass. — She was remembered for her smile.

Outside of St. Joseph Catholic Church, Krystle M. Campbell’s second-grade teacher reached into her big black purse Monday and pulled out a class picture from April 1991 -- 21 sweet, gawky children, and Krystle in the back row “with the biggest smile,” Margaret Regan said as she waited for her former student’s funeral to begin. “That’s the way she was.”

Inside of the tall brick church, the Rev. Chip Hines told Campbell’s friends and family members that “every picture I have ever seen” of the 29-year-old -- who died a week ago in the Boston Marathon bombing --  “has had that ever-present smile.”

FULL COVERAGE: Boston Marathon attack

“Let these words from her parents be what you remember about Krystle,” Hines said, at the first of four funerals expected this week stemming from the bombing and subsequent manhunt. “Unselfish. Kind. Always willing to help. Always putting herself last. Hard worker. Couldn’t say no. Always smiling.”

Hundreds of mourners lined up along High Street on Monday morning, to pay their respects as the young woman was laid to rest in the church where she celebrated her First Communion. Gov. Deval Patrick was in attendance, as was the mayor of Medford and its police chief.

An honor guard of firefighters in dress blue uniforms and crisp white gloves lined the church walkway. Hundreds of Teamsters gathered across the street, ready, they said, to protect Campbell’s family on this difficult day, should a threatened protest arise.

“If need be, we’ll put up a human shield to let the family mourn in peace,” said Sean O’Brien, president of Local 25. “A lot of our members live in these communities. We will do the same for every one of the victims.”

Gary Lewis, 56, a member of the Leathernecks Motorcycle Club International, showed up in full leathers to pay his respects and help keep the peace.  Robin Loguidice, a member of St. Joseph’s adoration team -- she meets with parishioners every week “to worship the Lord and the blessed sacrament” -- arrived early for the funeral “in solidarity” with the family, even though she didn’t know the Campbells.

“I can’t believe how people can be so monstrously bad,” Loguidice said. “Oh, my God, to target the marathon? I’m glad it’s over. I’m glad they got him.”

Suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, was charged Monday with using a weapon of mass destruction in the bombing that killed three spectators and injured more than 170.

A memorial is expected Monday evening for Boston University graduate student Lu Lingzhi. Funeral plans have not yet been finalized for 8-year-old Martin Richard. On Wednesday, Massachusetts Institute of Technology will hold a memorial for Sean Collier, a campus policeman who was shot to death after confronting the suspects during last week’s manhunt.

On Monday morning, just hours before the region prepared to commemorate the bombing with a moment of silence, Campbell’s casket was escorted in to the bright, airy church, as a choir sang “Amazing Grace” and the young woman’s family and friends gathered seeking solace in ritual and prayer.

“Words can be kind,” Hines told them. “Words can be cruel. Human beings are the same. We are capable of great kindness and great cruelty, and it brings us to the question. ... Why did a young woman with all of her life ahead of her, Krystle, have to die?

“We will never know the answer.”

ALSO:

Boston bombing suspect charged in hospital

Officer lost all his blood but is expected to recover

Video said to show suspect setting backpack down near finish line

maria.laganga@latimes.com

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