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Family holds memorial for Sharon native killed in attacks



Published: Sun, October 14, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



The victim was working on the 97th floor where the airplane hit.

By JoANNE VIVIANO

VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER

SHARON -- Rebecca Koborie's memorial service ended in applause.

It was at the request of the woman's sister that the congregation gave the Sharon native "one last hand."

At least one mourner doubted it would be her last.

"I don't know if it will be her last one," the woman whispered. "I'm sure she'll get a few in heaven."

Koborie, 48, of Guttenburg, N.J., perished Sept. 11 in the World Trade Center attacks. She was working on the 97th floor offices of Marsh Inc. Insurance Agencies in the center's North Tower, the first to be struck by a hijacked airplane.

Paying respects: Roughly 300 mourners gathered Saturday at Covenant Presbyterian Church on East State Street to pay tribute to a woman who was remembered for her smile, her musical skill and her efforts to make the world a better place.

"The Becky that I knew celebrated life every day of her life. She enjoyed life so much," said Koborie's former Sunday school teacher Violet Thomas. " ... She would make us all laugh. She had us all smiling. And she made sure we knew she cared about us."

She also spoke of Koborie's singing voice: "I know Rebecca is singing with the angels, and she is so happy."

Koborie is survived by her parents John and Julianne Koborie, two brothers, a sister, two nieces and two nephews. She was a 1971 graduate of Sharon High School and lived in Manhattan 16 years before moving to New Jersey.

Search efforts: Her sister, Terri Roberts, spoke of the fruitless search she and her parents made in New York City in the days after the attack. She also told of the support the family has received from friends and family in New York, New Jersey, Maine and Pennsylvania.

She said they went to the city full of hope and learned that Koborie was on a floor the airplane hit. What helped, she said "were the hugs and the kind words and the hand-holding and the 'Becky stories.'"

"I think Beck wants us to know she's OK. She's OK and she's just waiting for us to catch up," Roberts said. " ... We need to remember Becky for how she embraced life."

Family and friends wore buttons with Koborie's photo that read "Remember Her Life." Her father wore a patriotic ribbon on his lapel, as did many other mourners.

Those gathered donated funds to animal shelters and to the Children's Specialized Hospital Fund in New Jersey to create a music program in Koborie's honor.

Services: The service was marked by hymns, prayer and Bible readings, as well as solos from Roberta Vernon Wason. The congregation joined together for a verse of "God Bless America."

Pastor Dick Herman called those gathered to focus on memories, grief, faith and family.

"Today is not a time for posturing; it is not a time for politicking," he said. "Rather, it is a time for remembering. It is a time to believe. ... It is a time for remembering a woman who loved and was loved by so many."

He also asked mourners not to let their grief turn negative, but to allow it to "soften our hearts and reach out."

Dan DeSantis, who said he knew Koborie since they were both 14, tried to make some sense of the tragedy, saying her sacrifice would lead to a peaceful world in which her nieces and nephews could grow up without fear.

"I see Becky and the other 5,000 [World Trade Center victims] as wounded soldiers in a war they did not even know they were in," he said. "They galvanized ... a world over a million strong to stop an insidious evil.

"Becky was not a victim. She was a hero."




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