Conn. victims: Lively youngsters, devoted adults
Jack’s funeral is scheduled for 1 p.m. on Monday at the Honan Funeral Home in Newtown, followed by burial at the Newtown Village Cemetery.
NOAH POZNER, 6
Noah was ‘‘smart as a whip,’’ gentle but with a rambunctious streak, said his uncle, Alexis Haller of Woodinville, Wash. Noah’s twin sister Arielle, assigned to a different classroom, survived the shooting. He called her his best friend, and with their 8-year-old sister, Sophia, they were inseparable.
‘‘They were always playing together, they loved to do things together,’’ Haller said. When his mother, a nurse, would tell him she loved him, he would answer, ‘‘Not as much as I love you, Mom.’’
Haller said Noah loved to read and liked to figure out how things worked mechanically. For his birthday two weeks ago, he got a new Wii.
‘‘He was just a really lively, smart kid,’’ Haller said. ‘‘He would have become a great man, I think. He would have grown up to be a great dad.’’
JESSICA REKOS, 6
‘‘Jessica loved everything about horses,’’ her parents, Rich and Krista Rekos said in a statement. ‘‘She devoted her free time to watching horse movies, reading horse books, drawing horses, and writing stories about horses.’’
When she turned 10, they promised, she could have a horse of her own. For Christmas, she asked Santa for new cowgirl boots and hat.
The Rekoses described their daughter as ‘‘a creative, beautiful little girl who loved playing with her little brothers, Travis and Shane.
‘‘She spent time writing in her journals, making up stories, and doing ‘research’ on orca whales — one of her passions after seeing the movie ‘Free Willy’ last year.’’ Her dream of seeing a real orca was realized in October when she went to SeaWorld.
Jessica, first born in the family, ‘‘was our rock,’’ the parents said. ‘‘She had an answer for everything, she didn’t miss a trick, and she outsmarted us every time.’’ A thoughtful planner, she was ‘‘our little CEO.’’
‘‘We cannot imagine our life without her. We are mourning her loss, sharing our beautiful memories we have of her, and trying to help her brother Travis understand why he can’t play with his best friend,’’ they said.
‘‘We are devastated, and our hearts are with the other families who are grieving as we are.’’
LAUREN GABRIELLE ROUSSEAU, 30, teacher
Lauren Rousseau had spent years working as a substitute teacher and doing other jobs. So she was thrilled when she finally realized her goal this fall to become a full-time teacher at Sandy Hook.
Her mother, Teresa Rousseau, a copy editor at the Danbury News-Times, released a statement Saturday that said state police told them just after midnight that she was among the victims.
‘‘Lauren wanted to be a teacher from before she even went to kindergarten,’’ she said. ‘‘We will miss her terribly and will take comfort knowing that she had achieved that dream.’’
Her mother said she was thrilled to get the job.
‘‘It was the best year of her life,’’ she told the newspaper.
Rousseau has been called gentle, spirited and active. She had planned to see ‘‘The Hobbit’’ with her boyfriend Friday and had baked cupcakes for a party they were to attend afterward. She was born in Danbury, and attended Danbury High, college at the University of Connecticut and graduate school at the University of Bridgeport.
She was a lover of music, dance and theater.
‘‘I'm used to having people die who are older,’’ her mother said, ‘‘not the person whose room is up over the kitchen.’’
MARY SHERLACH, 56, school psychologist
When the shots rang out, Mary Sherlach threw herself into the danger.
Janet Robinson, the superintendent of Newtown Public Schools, said Sherlach and the school’s principal ran toward the shooter. They lost their own lives, rushing toward him.
Even as Sherlach neared retirement, her job at Sandy Hook was one she loved. Those who knew her called her a wonderful neighbor, a beautiful person, a dedicated educator.
Her son-in-law, Eric Schwartz, told the South Jersey Times that Sherlach rooted on the Miami Dolphins, enjoyed visiting the Finger Lakes, relished helping children overcome their problems. She had planned to leave work early on Friday, he said, but never had the chance. In a news conference Saturday, he told reporters the loss was devastating, but that Sherlach was doing what she loved.
‘‘Mary felt like she was doing God’s work,’’ he said, ‘‘working with the children.’’
VICTORIA SOTO, 27, teacher
She beams in snapshots. Her enthusiasm and cheer was evident. She was doing, those who knew her say, what she loved.
And now, Victoria Soto is being called a hero.Continued...