Mourners remember slain teacher at wake in Andover and at church services

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ANDOVER -- Black-clad mourners began entering St. Augustine Church in Andover half an hour before a wake was set to begin at 3 p.m. for Colleen Ritzer, the Danvers High School math teacher killed Tuesday.

They braced against the stiff October breeze, hands shoved deep into jacket pockets and climbed the steps of the church lined with flowers in wicker baskets and white pots.

Earlier, as the morning’s Masses ended, florists begain delivering arrangements of pink roses, hydrangeas, and dahlias for this afternoon’s calling hours as the sounds of organ music spilled out of the church.

“I just bought as many beautiful pink flowers as I could,” said Steve Janavicus, a Bradford florist who created some of the displays. “And that’s what she’s going to be surrounded by. Pink was her favorite color.”

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