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"PAZ" 2007 Obituary


PAZMINO o@ca.on.york_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2007-06-01 published
Church overflowing for funeral of 'bright star'
'Don't let his name be forgotten,' uncle asks during two-hour ceremony
By Alex DOBROTA, Page A14
To his Friends and relatives, he was an artistic teenager with a fascination for snakes and pranks, who still sucked on his thumb at times - a star that burned out ahead of its time.
But to the hundreds of mourners who knew him little yet still showed up to celebrate his memory yesterday, Jordan MANNERS became an icon for the damage gun crime has wrought in their community.
Thirty minutes before the funeral of the 15-year-old began yesterday morning, the main room at Christian Centre Church, near Jane Street and Finch Avenue, was already filled to capacity.
Hundreds more people packed the hallways, the balconies and a nearby gymnasium to watch a live feed of the proceedings. About 200 stood outside the church braving scorching heat. About as many waited at Beechwood Cemetery.
"I think it really struck a chord in the minds of people," said Pastor Dino ANDREADIS, who officiated at the ceremony. "I've done high-profile funerals, but never like this. I think this will really make a difference."
The church has a capacity of about 1,000 and Mr. ANDREADIS estimates more than 1,500 showed up yesterday.
The teen was shot last Wednesday inside his school, C.W. Jefferys Collegiate Institute. Two 17-year-old youths have been charged with first-degree murder.
After collapsing with grief on a chair steps away from his coffin, his mother, Laureen SMALL, took one last look at her son. She then watched pallbearers close the casket and the two-hour-long ceremony began.
One of Jordan's aunts told how he sucked on his thumb at times during his sleep. One of his teachers described how he easily reproduced a complicated architecture diagram in less than an hour. And the story of how Jordan brought snakes into his house elicited a rare moment of laughter.
"The world lost a bright, bright star," his aunt, Louisa MANNERS, said during her eulogy.
During one of the most emotional moments, Jordan's school mate and friend, Matthew ALAY, burst into tears and was unable to read a speech, which was delivered by a relative. "Jordan, may your soul rest in peace. I love you," the boy only managed to utter between sobs.
Other relatives said Jordan's death should serve as a call to action against gun violence in the community. "He's not a statistic," his uncle Gregory STOKES said. "Don't let his name be forgotten."
As the mourners spilled out in the parking lot after the ceremony, many young people expressed anger and disgust at the shooting.
"Our young man are dying and dying and this ain't right" said 14-year-old Jessica PAZMINO, who said she never met Jordan, but decided to come to the funeral to show support. "Hopefully, this will teach people a lesson."
"People are realizing that this is disgusting," said Martha BOTENG, 19. "I see people coming together more."
Beside her, the car carrying Jordan's casket set slowly in motion toward Beechwood Cemetery, followed by two lowriders - cars with modified hydraulics and suspension so as to allow the driver to bounce the vehicle up and down to the rhythm of hip-hop music.
In their wake, traffic on Jane Street backed up several blocks and the storm clouds gathering above shed a few drops.

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