Families full of tears, full of hope

Published 9:50 pm Monday, June 5, 2017

Barbara Mitchell, Brenda May and Toccara May were laid to rest Monday afternoon. They were among the first victims of the Lincoln County shootings that occurred last weekend, which claimed the lives of eight people.

Families and friends gathered for the final funeral service for the victims in Alexander Jr. High auditorium. As the services started, it began to rain outside as it did during the services on Saturday and Sunday afternoon. Families made their way down the aisle to say goodbye to their loved ones.

Lorraine Lewis opened the program with a solo performance of the song “Because He Lives,” followed by Old Testament readings from Psalms 31 by Rev. Burnell Robinson and a New Testament reading from Rev. Mitchell Redd.

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“All things work together for good for those who love the Lord,” said Rev. Edward Dillon, who said a prayer for the families.

Rev. Adolph Holmes gave words of encouragement to the families. “When tragedy happens, God is trying to show us our hearts,” Holmes said. “Our Heavenly Father knows best. We don’t know why but we know he allowed it to happen. We have to depend on our Heavenly Father.”

A tribute and a poem was read by Candace Braxton. Several tributes were given after Candace, on behalf of the victims.

The service came to an end with Pastor Eugene Edwards giving the eulogy.

“It’s not easy to do funerals of people you know, kids you know,” Edwards said to the weeping audience. “I’d like to thank the families and the preachers here throughout the entire weekend. I don’t wish this on anybody.”

Edwards mentioned that Job from the Bible comes to mind when thinking of tragedy.

“God doesn’t tell us everything,” Edwards said. “This won’t be easy but with God’s help we’ll make it. We’ve had three funerals in three days and there will be more tears. We need to lean on each other. The Lord gives and the Lord takes away. It does my heart good to see everyone praying together. Everyone come to Jesus and remember to pray.”

Barbara Ann Mitchell married Vincent “Big V” Mitchell and they enjoyed a marriage that lasted 20 years. She loved life and her family. Barbara will be remembered for the special and unique way she touched everyone she knew.

Brenda Diane May was full of life and found enjoyment in her family and helping others. Her light will continue to shine.

Toccara Natasha May loved clothes and was considered a “fashionista.” She loved hair and had a gift for styling hair. Life, her family and helping others were all important to Toccara and she embraced them all.

The final funeral brings an end to nearly a week of funerals for the victims, which began Thursday with Deputy William Durr’s funeral. The services continued Saturday in the Alexander Jr. High auditorium for Jordan Blackwell and Austin Edwards. Sunday, families said goodbye to Ferral and Shelia Burage. The last service on Monday, families, friends and the community said goodbye to Barbara Mitchell, Brenda May and Tocarra May.

A tribute to the victims was placed beside the caskets for people to view before the service. A weeklong tragedy came to an end at the last service on Monday. The Lincoln County community is hurt, full of tears but also full of hope.