A Final Farewell to Gloria and Stevie Acuña

FRESNO, Calif.

Almost every pew at Saint Anthony of Padua Catholic Church was filled to capacity. Mourners wept as the two caskets carrying the bodies of Gloria and Stevie Acuña were carried in.

"It really brought it home when we saw the two caskets there -- and Stevie's life wiped out so young so full of future," said Lenore Schreibner, a friend of the family.

Monsignor Robert Wenzinger's sermon spoke of acceptance -- and forgiveness. "It is anger and hatred that destroyed three people," he said. "We allow that anger and hatred within our own hearts-- then it will certainly destroy us as well."

Gloria and Stevie were remembered by loved ones as happy and kind. Gloria's best friend, Ruby Davidson, described her loss and sadness through a poem. "You were blessed to have beauty, both inside and out. Your heart was so giving, that it will be difficult to do without."

Every employee who ever worked with Gloria at the Goldberg Law Firm for the past 17 years was in attendance at Friday's service.

Michael Goldberg, her employer and friend, said of her that, "She didn't see color; she didn't see social status ... she had infinite patience and she cared for everyone she knew."

Mayor Ashley Swearengin spoke on behalf of the Fresno community, "If we could lift the grief and erase the tragedy we would do it in a heartbeat."

20-year-old Stevie had dreams of becoming an entertainer. His friends said it's hard to believe they'll never see him again.

"It's finally hitting me that he is no longer with us," Stevie's friend Gina Monteleone said. "But of course he'll always be with us, whenever I hear music or I dance, he'll always be there with me."

After the service, hundreds accompanied the family to Saint Peter's Cemetery, Gloria and Stevie's final resting place.

Stevie volunteered as a peer educator for the Marjaree Mason Center teaching high school students about domestic violence, so the family asked that any donations in memory of Gloria and Steve Acuña be made to the Marjaree Mason Center. You can donate through their website or any Bank of America branch.

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