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Bubbly teen remembered for her infectious smile
Marissa Mae Louie touched the community in many ways, but it was her infectious smile that changed the world for the people in it.
That was the tearful sentiment expressed on Monday during the funeral service for the 19-year-old who died in a motor vehicle accident last week.
Family and friends filled the Osoyoos Indian Band hall in Oliver on Monday to pay their respects for the beautiful young woman.
The service started with singers and drummers led by Tony Pulido, followed by Kathy Pierre saying the opening prayer.
“I don’t understand why someone so young is taken home,” she said.
But Pierre noted that their ancestors are looking out for the family.
“We know that they are helping Marissa. She’s in a place of understanding of everything . . . in a happy place.”
Charlotte Stringham was asked by the family to say a few words. She pointed out that the past month and a half have not been a good time for the band, which had to deal with three tragic events.
Stringham offered condolences to Marissa’s parents, Verna Louie and William Baptiste, as well as her sisters and grandparents.
She read a poem from Marissa’s sibling Jamie Louie. The poem highlighted the bond among sisters and how this bond endured life’s sorrow and pain.
Stringham delivered a message to Marissa’s parents, saying the young woman was like so many teens. “She was coming around. It was hard for a while, but she loved you very much.”
Stringham said Marissa’s grandparents meant the world to her. They remember her for bringing them so much happiness and love.
Stringham read another poem that Marissa wrote for her uncle after he passed away.
She noted that her uncle was her “falling star” and her “getaway car,” and he represented the line in the sand when she went too far.
Stringham said she didn’t mean to make young people cry at the service, but noted that sometimes it’s good to cry during such difficult times.
“She loved so many of you, and she did have a smile that could make everyone laugh.”
Family and friends recalled the time when Marissa got in trouble for taking off with some boys on all-terrain vehicles. Her grandparents were worried that she would get hurt.
“But the girls had fun that summer . . . that’s what youth is all about,” Stringham said.
She noted that being wise is hard to do when you’re having so much fun.
A video celebrated Marissa’s life, showing the various stages of her growing up. There were scenes showing her in a photo booth with her sisters, on the beach building sand castles, and on a merry-go-round.
One photo showed her with a large snake around her neck.
A friend of Marissa sent a poem to everyone who loved the teenager. The message stated that you can shed tears for her because she’s gone or you can smile because she touched their lives.
You can cry and close your mind and be empty or you can do what Marissa would have wanted – smile, open your eyes, love and move on, she said.
Her parents wrote the following eulogy:
“May the stars carry our sadness away. May the flowers fill our hearts with beauty. May hope forever wipe away our tears, and above all, may silence make us strong.”
Special to the Times