Ana ‘beat us to paradise,’ father writes in Facebook message
Published Saturday, December 15, 2012 10:02PM EST
Last Updated Saturday, December 15, 2012 10:14PM EST
Among the 20 children killed Friday in a horrific Connecticut school shooting was a six-year-old girl who spent her early years in Winnipeg, where she is remembered fondly as a ‘sweet, curious girl.’
Six-year-old Ana Marquez-Greene was among the victims at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. Twenty children and six adults were killed at the school.
The Greene family had moved to Connecticut last summer, after living in Winnipeg for three years. The family had initially moved to Winnipeg so that Ana’s father, saxophonist Jimmy Greene, could take a job with the University of Manitoba’s faculty of music.
Now those who knew the family while they lived in Canada are mourning the loss of the young girl.
Family friend Charlene Diehl, director of the Winnipeg International Writers Festival, said Ana was “a very sharp, intelligent, sweet, curious girl.”
While in Winnipeg, Ana and her brother, Isaiah, attended Linden Christian School. Linden’s principal Rob Charach called the family “outstanding.”
“They were great members of our community. It’s a heart-wrenching tragedy,” he said. "There aren't words to describe the pain and anguish they are going through ... that all the families of the victims are going through."
A vigil was held for the family Friday night at the Whyte Ridge Baptist Church, where the Greene family were members while living in the city. Next Tuesday, a vigil and musical dedication will be held in Ana’s honour at the University of Manitoba.
Edmund Dawe, the faculty of music’s dean said Ana’s parents were devoted to their kids. “Their lives revolved around their family and the children’s activities,” he said.
Meanwhile on Saturday, Jimmy Greene posted a statement on Facebook thanking supporters for helping his family work through their grief.
In his post, he said the support shown to him and his family during “this nightmare” reminds him of “how much we’re loved and supported on this Earth and by our Father in heaven.”
“As much as she’s needed here and missed by her mother, brother and me, Ana beat us all to paradise,” wrote Greene. “I love you sweetie girl.”
Greene’s son, Isaiah, was also at the school Friday, but the third grader was not hurt.
Greene, an accomplished musician, composer and band leader, returned to his home state last summer to take up a teaching job at Western Connecticut State University.
His wife, Nelba Marquez-Greene is a licensed marriage and family therapist who taught at the University of Winnipeg for two years.
Ana’s grandmother, Elba Marquez, told AP that the Ana’s parents enrolled her at Sandy Hook, in part because of the school’s reputation.
“They looked for the best school for their daughter, the best," said Marquez, who had visited the family in Connecticut for the American Thanksgiving holiday.
"It was a beautiful place, just beautiful. What happened does not match up with the place where they live."
With a report from CTV Winnipeg and files from The Canadian Press
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