LEOMINSTER — Mourners, many of them arriving by bus from New York, gathered Tuesday morning at Our Lady of the Lake Church for the funeral of Vanessa Marcotte. She was buried at Woodside Cemetery in Westminster.
Ms. Marcotte, 27, was killed Aug. 7 while jogging in Princeton. Police continue to investigate the crime.
Ms. Marcotte’s body was brought to the church from Brandon Funeral Home in a long procession led by Leominster and state police.
Ms. Marcotte, who grew up in Leominster and graduated in 2007 from Bancroft School in Worcester, lived in New York City, where she worked for Google. She was visiting family in Princeton when she was killed.
Among those watching as the procession arrived were Arthur and Rita Bartlett, residents of North Leominster.
Mr. Bartlett said they were there watching to be supportive of the family.
“It’s awful. It’s disgusting that a human being would do that to another human being,” he said.
Mrs. Bartlett said she was holding back tears at the thought of the tragedy.
“I just want to hang my head and say a prayer for her,” she said.
Cynthia Paradise and Amanda Fadden of Leominster stood outside their car parked nearby with their hands over their hearts.
The two women did not know Ms. Marcotte, but felt they should be there.
“We’re here out of respect for this poor family,” Ms. Paradise said.
“The whole community is grieving,” Ms. Fadden said.
Mindy Parks, who lives near the church in a neighborhood off Main Street, was out walking her dog and stopped for a moment to reflect on the tragedy.
“This is extremely, extremely sad,” she said. “I want to cry, and I don’t even know her.”
Joanne McKay of Fitchburg said she came to Leominster to support the family during their difficult time.
“I don’t know how you can explain this,” she said. “It’s beyond explaining. It’s a horrific case.”
Inside the church, mourners were told that Ms. Marcotte brought light to the lives of everyone she touched.
“You epitomize grace, light, humility, and absolute magic,” said eulogist Leah Abrahams, one of Marcotte’s best friends.
The Rev. Dennis O’Brien urged mourners to remember Marcotte for the way she lived, not the way she died.
“Her death should not be the headline story,” he said. “The headline story that the entire world needs to see and read is the love that she lived every single day of her life.”
Leominster City Councilor Richard Marchand, who attended the funeral and graveside service, said the entire city of Leominster is her parents’ extended family.
“The eulogy in church was so heartfelt,” he said. “We all learned a lot about her today with the beautiful words. Leominster’s heart breaks.”
Ms. Marcotte had been named Tutor of the Year at Tutoring Plus of Cambridge and also volunteered at Harlem Grown in New York, according to her obituary.
Investigators have received more than 600 tips, but no arrests have been announced. They say her male assailant may have suffered cuts, scratches and bruises from a struggle.
She is survived by her parents, John Marcotte and Rossana Marcotte, one grandfather, several aunts and uncles and cousins.
“Vanessa embodied everything that is good in a human being,” according to her obituary. “She was kind, compassionate, bright, curious, charming, and vivacious. She was blessed with beauty, grace, a generous spirit, and a loving heart.”
Following the church service, Mayor Dean Mazzarella said the service was a beautiful celebration of Ms. Marcotte’s life. He said the community is in shock but the funeral did not focus on the unthinkable tragedy but the good she brought to people during her life.
“She had love, and that was really the hallmark of her life,” he said.
The mayor also restated what police have been saying the past week that anyone who feels they have any information on the case should call state police.
“Someone saw something,” he said. “All these little tips amount to something.”
Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.