AAA firstname.lastname@example.org_county.toronto.toronto_star 2005-12-29 published
'Kind family' mourned at service
Mom, two kids and niece killed
Driving back from son's hockey game
By Peter EDWARDS, Staff Reporter
Hamilton -- Mourners filled the 800 seats in Saint Margaret Mary Church on Hamilton Mountain almost an hour before yesterday's funeral began for four family members killed in an accident on their way home from a hockey game.
There were an estimated 1,450 mourners by the time the service began for Vivian PORTO, 43; two of her children, Francesco, 13, and Azzadine, 10; and her niece, Emily PORTO, 10.
Some of the people who couldn't find a seat lined the walls of the Roman Catholic church for the two-hour service. Others listened through speakers in an adjoining church meeting room. A few who couldn't find room in the church stood outside in the rain.
Inside, members of the Hamilton Junior Bulldogs team stood as an honour guard, wearing white hockey jerseys with Francesco's Number 11 stitched on the left shoulder.
"This is a tragedy," Bishop Gerard BOURGIE told the congregation. "We cannot make sense of it. All we can do is trust in God and support one another."
Father William TRUSCZ noted that hundreds of Friends of the family have visited the PORTOs since the two-car accident last Thursday night on Highway 6, north of Highway 5, as the PORTOs returned from Francesco's AAA game in Guelph.
Police blamed bad weather for the accident. Some area residents have urged snow barriers be erected along a 24-kilometre stretch of Highway 6 between Highways 401 and 403 that has claimed at least 20 lives in the past 15 years.
"Your kind presence is a silent testimony that this kind family is being held in the community's embrace," TRUSCZ said, asking mourners to remember to continue to show their love for surviving PORTO family members.
Emily PORTO's aunt, Lisa ULRICH, recalled in a eulogy the 10-year-old's gentle, one-dimpled smile. "Her inclination was to heal hurt, never to inflict it," ULRICH said.
Family friend Joe MANCINELLI told the congregation he considered Vivian PORTO to be a "supermom" who worked at a family store in the daytime and spent her evenings helping her children with schoolwork or taking them to soccer or hockey games or family functions.
"She loved family and loved everything that family stood for," MANCINELLI said. "... She was devoted to her children's activities. Never missed a game and loved every minute of it."
MANCINELLI recalled Francesco as an honours student with a special ability in math, and a love of soccer as well as hockey. Azzadine had an uncanny resemblance to her mother, both physically and in spirit, MANCINELLI said. "She was a determined young lady, with bright eyes and an angelic smile," MANCINELLI told the congregation.
Vivian PORTO and her high-school sweetheart, Sam PORTO, also had two older teenaged boys, both also members of the Junior Bulldogs organization. Sam PORTO is a manager with the Bulldogs.
Emily PORTO had a 3-year-old brother, Gabriel.
MANCINELLI, who knew Vivian PORTO for more than three decades, told the church service he was sure she could appreciate the outpouring of support. However, he said she would urge her Friends and family to go on enjoying life.
"I think that she would say, 'That's enough (grieving) now. We're all in heaven.'"
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