As Diane and Daphne Malone, the mother and sister of Jamie and Paige Malone, carried two candles and led more than a dozen others down the aisle of the Cannon Memorial Chapel at the University of Richmond Saturday, three musicians played a song entitled "Pachelbel Meets U2: With or Without You."
The arrangement was by one of Jamie's closest friends because of the Malone sisters' love for the band U2, and it symbolized the purpose of the Celebration of Life service: to grieve the loss and honor the memories of two vibrant young women.
About 750 students, faculty and others attended the 90-minute service, which began with a procession of symbols led by Daphne and Mrs. Malone.
Each symbol represented one of the many communities Jamie and Paige were a part of. The symbols included a daisy necklace, representing the women's college at the university, signed T-shirts from Camp Anchor, a Richmond football helmet signed by members of the team, and a photo of Jamie with the class she student-taught in the spring.
Richmond President Edward Ayers was visibly emotional during his opening remarks.
"These young women were shining lights on our campus," said Ayers, who had to pause to collect himself several times during his address. "[These symbols] remind us that Jamie and Paige were, themselves, gifts, symbols of what is best about this university."
Following Ayers' remarks, former students reflected on their memories of Jamie, who graduated in May and had accepted a teaching job in Richmond starting this fall.
Kerry Winters, Westhampton College '10, who grew up with Jamie in Floral Park, N.Y., and also graduated from Richmond in May, said that she and Jamie had wanted to study abroad in Australia, but that Jamie's commitment to Camp Anchor wouldn't allow it.
"When [Jamie] realized leaving for Australia early wouldn't let her work at Camp Anchor for the summer, Australia was immediately out of the picture," Winters said. "The idea of taking even one summer off and missing out on working with those kids was out of the question. Jamie would be there for them, and that was that, because she loved it."
Jamie's boyfriend, Mack Clair, Richmond College '10, spoke at length, and when he expressed his disappointment at never fulfilling the Richmond tradition of proposing to her under the on-campus gazebo, tears burst from the pews.
More students then took to the stage to remember Paige, who would have been a junior at Richmond this fall.
"Paige always found the good in every situation and that's exactly what she would expect all of us to do now," said Morgan O'Neil, WC '12, who was joined at the lectern by two more of Paige's close friends. "We should all try to be more like Paige ... involving ourselves every day in our priceless friendships and families as much as she did, because you never know when you'll be sharing your last dance-off, drink, hug or even slice of pizza with someone you love."
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Jim Malone, Jamie and Paige's father, offered the closing remarks.
"I was ready to talk Jamie out of education," Malone said. "Then I saw her at [Camp] Anchor."
Malone described seeing a camper with a significant disability apparently distressed, until Jamie came to his aid.
"He was very active with his hands and he was a 220-pound kid," Malone said. "Jamie came right over and soothed him in silence ... and I said [to myself], 'You shouldn't steal her away from that occupation.'"
In closing, Malone said:
"This week was a very tough week and at a very low point, I just had the thought, 'How would the girls have me act, how would they want me to manage through this?' They've given me the strength to push on. ... This university has been very special to me, no more than today. We will get through this and we hope everyone does. These girls were very special and we will miss them every single minute of our lives."
Contact staff writer Reilly Moore at email@example.com
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