WILBRAHAM — Amy E. Lord, the 24-year-old woman murdered in Boston last week, was described today as a “wonderful role model for young girls” as her family, relatives and friends celebrated her life during a funeral service at St. Cecilia Church here.
On a bright and cloudless day in this town where Lord grew up as the oldest of three girls, Main Street traffic came to a halt to allow the funeral procession to reach the church, which was quickly filled with an estimated 800 mourners.
In his homily, the Reverend Joseph M. Soranno described Lord as a beautiful, vibrant young woman who was admired and loved by all who knew her.
With Lord’s parents and two sisters sitting in the front of the church, Soranno called Lord a “princess to her wonderful parents.’’
He added, “Amy made friends, good friends, wherever she went. As an older sister, she was adored by her younger sisters and all of their friends. She was a big sister to so many young people, and a wonderful role model for young girls to emulate.”
During the service today and at a wake held for her in Springfield Monday, Lord was remembered by mourners as a stellar athlete, bright student, and loyal friend.
At Minnechaug Regional High School here, Lord was an honors student and captain of her school’s cheerleading squad. After graduating in 2011 from Bentley University, she moved to Boston to pursue a career in digital marketing and Web design.
Lord loved to dance, according to her family. Today, at the family’s request, the choir sang “Lord of the Dance,” a lively hymn that includes the phrase, “I danced in the morning when the world was begun.”
Mary McCue, a pastoral minister at St. Cecilia who helped the Lords prepare for the funeral, said afterwards in an interview that the song captured the life that has been taken away from those who loved her.
“Amy was a woman who truly knew how to live life to the full,” said McCue. “The song spoke so well of who Amy was, and it was played and sung so beautifully today.”
Boston police have said Lord was attacked last Tuesday morning as she left her apartment building on Dorchester Street in South Boston. She was forced back into the vestibule of the building, beaten, and then made to drive to five ATMs in Boston to withdraw cash.
Her body was found later that day at the Stony Brook Reservation in Hyde Park.
Police have in custody a “person of interest” — Edwin J. Alemany — but have not charged him with Lord’s murder. Alemany, 28, is undergoing a mental competency examination at Bridgewater State Hospital and has been charged with attacking two other South Boston women.
A Boston police detective, Jerome Hall-Brewster, was demoted to patrol officer because he failed to investigate Alemany’s role in a September attack on a woman in Roxbury.
There was no mention during the services of how Lord died. Mourners instead focused on the person they knew. Her boyfriend, Michael Cassell, read from “The Station,” a poem by Robert J. Hastings.
“The true joy of life is the trip,” Cassell quoted from the poem.
After the Mass was finished, Cassell and a group of Lord’s relatives and friends congregated in the parking lot, exchanging hugs and memories.
Lord’s immediate family followed the hearse bearing Lord to a local cemetery for a final, private graveside service.
“It’s a tough day for the family,” said John Sampson, owner of the Springfield funeral home where Lord was waked on Monday. “And for the town.’’