SYRACUSE, NY (AP) – Roberta Drury, a 32-year-old woman who was the youngest of 10 black people killed in a Buffalo supermarket, was remembered at her funeral on Saturday for her love for family and friends, her tenacity “and most importantly, that smile that could light up a room.
“Robbie,” as he was known, grew up in the Syracuse area and moved to Buffalo ten years ago to help care for his brother in his battle with leukemia. She was shot on May 14 while traveling to buy groceries at the Tops Friendly Market targeted by the white shooter.
“There are no words to fully express the depth and magnitude of this tragedy,” said Fr. Nicholas Spano, parochial vicar of the Church of the Assumption in Syracuse, during the service. The majestic brick church is not far from where Drury grew up in Cicero.
“Last Saturday, May 14, our corner of the world was changed forever,” he said. “Lives have come to an end. Dreams were shattered and our state was plunged into mourning.
Drury’s family wrote in their obituary that she “couldn’t walk a few steps without meeting a new friend.”
“Robbie always made a big deal out of someone when she saw them, always making sure they felt noticed and loved,” her sister, Amanda, told The Associated Press via text message before the service.
The family asked for donations to be made to the Buffalo Zoo, a place the sisters loved to walk, Amanda Drury said.
“She was that light that shone through any darkness that might have been present,” Spano said. He said mourners would be remembered for Drury’s “kindness… love for his family and friends, his perseverance, his tenacity and, above all, that smile that could light up a room”.
Drury is the second shooting victim to be praised.
A private service was held Friday for Heyward Patterson, the beloved deacon at a church near the supermarket. Further funerals were planned for the coming week.
Tops was encouraging people to join his stores in a moment of silence to honor the victims of the shooting Saturday at 2:30 p.m., the approximate time of the attack a week earlier. Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown also called for 123 seconds of silence from 2:28 p.m. to 2:31 p.m., followed by the ringing of church bells 13 times across the city to honor the 10 people killed and three injured.
A candlelight vigil was planned at the Buffalo supermarket in the evening.
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