Roberta Drury, a 32-year-old woman who was the youngest of 10 Black people killed in a Buffalo, New York, supermarket, was remembered at her funeral Saturday for her kindness and welcoming nature as the city marked a week since Mass. . shooting.
“Robbie,” as she was called, grew up in the Syracuse, New York, area and moved to Buffalo a decade ago to help care for her brother as he battled leukemia. She was shot and killed on May 14 on a grocery shopping trip at Tops Friendly Market, targeted by a white gunman.
“There are no words to fully express the depth and breadth of this tragedy,” Father Nicholas Spano, parochial vicar of Church of the Assumption, said during the funeral in Syracuse, not far from where Drury grew up in Cicero, New York.
“Last Saturday, May 14, our corner of the world changed forever,” he said. “Lives were ended. Dreams were shattered and our state was plunged into mourning.”
Drury’s family wrote in his obituary that he “couldn’t take a few steps without meeting a new friend.”
123 seconds of silence
“Robbie always made a big deal about someone when he saw them, always making sure they felt noticed and loved,” his sister, Amanda, told The Associated Press by text message before the service.
After the funeral, at the Tops store in Buffalo, the atmosphere was a mix of tension and somber reflection, as the city marked a week since the racist massacre.
At exactly 2:30 p.m., when the gunman opened fire, a moment of silence was observed by people who had gathered and placed flowers near the corner where the victims have been remembered. A dozen workers formed a line outside the entrance to the Tops store. Nearby, some mourners wept.
At the same time, Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown and other elected officials, along with Tops President John Persons, bowed their heads on the steps of City Hall for 123 seconds to mark the duration of the attack. Houses of worship across the city were encouraged to ring their bells 13 times in honor of the 10 killed and three injured.
Joshua Kellick, a mental health and substance abuse counselor in Buffalo, said victim Geraldine Talley, 62, was a friend. She worked as a secretary in her office, but was the glue that held her work family together, she said outside the store.
“She was nothing but loving and generous. She went out of her way to help everyone. She was a mother, a grandmother to everyone, not just that,” said Kellick, who met with several of Talley’s former co-workers. Observe the moment of silence.
When Drury was laid to rest, Spano said mourners would remember her “kindness, … love for family and friends, her perseverance, her tenacity, and most of all, that smile that could light up a room.”
She was the second shooting victim to be commended.
A private service for Heyward Patterson, the beloved deacon, was held at a church near the supermarket on Friday. More funerals were scheduled for the next week.
A candlelight vigil was planned for later in the evening.