Mourners gathered for the first of a series of services for the over two dozen that died in the Washington mudslide. A school custodian, described as a tough-minded animal lover and a popular librarian were just a few who were commemorated at the procession.
The funerals came two weeks after disaster struck that left at least 30 people dead, as searchers still scour the land for more bodies.
About 250 people packed golf course clubhouse in Arlington, Washington, for a funeral of Summer Raffo, 36, a school custodian and specialist in hoof care for horses, just a few miles from the site where the violent Washington mudslide swept her car off Highway 530 on March 22.
Raffo was pulled from her vehicle by her brother.
“She was tough, with so many brothers,” Barak Pearson, who led her funeral service, told mourners. He described her as being shy, but a loyal friend.
“She liked to be outdoors,” he said. “She loved animals. She was hardworking. She was dependable.”
Another service was held in nearby Darrington for Linda McPherson, 69, was found in her home dead from the debris. Her husband survived when the Washington mudslide took over their living space with about three dozen other properties on the outskirts of the community of Oso, which lies in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains northeast of Seattle.
As the town’s longtime head librarian, she played a key role in education thousands of children through the years, said friend Peter Selvig, who worked with her on the Darrington School Board.
“She was a sweet, mellow, gentle woman,” Selvig said.
There were three individual memorials services held Saturday and services for more victims were scheduled for Sunday.
Of the 30 people confirmed dead by Snohomish County Medical Examiner’s office, all but one have been identified, officials said in a statement.