It was fitting that four small children led the way in front of the pall bearers carrying Jane Tyson's casket into Woodlawn's St. Lawrence Roman Catholic Church yesterday.
Mrs. Tyson, who was murdered Thursday in a $10 robbery as two of her six grandchildren looked on, had a way with children.
Although she had reared three daughters, she still enjoyed working with other people's children as a teacher's aide at a Baltimore County special education school.
It was a job she was good at, friends and colleagues recalled. "She was very outgoing, nurturing and upbeat," said Ann Bowen, who used to work at Riverview Elementary School, where Mrs. Tyson worked.
"She worked at the school for 10 years," said Adelaide Mangus, a secretary at the school. "She could relate well with the children, and she worked a lot with the new teachers. She was like a mother . . . a mentor to them," Mrs. Mangus said.
"She always had a smile on her face, and she was interested in people," said Marguerite Forte, a third-grade teacher at Riverview.
People who crowded into the church for the Mass of Christian Resurrection struggled to understand why Mrs. Tyson, 49, had to die such a violent death.
She was helping her 6-year-old grandson and 4-year-old granddaughter into her Buick outside Westview Mall, where they had been shopping, when a man with a gun appeared and demanded her purse. When Mrs. Tyson screamed, the man shot her in the head, grabbed her purse and sped away in a car with another man, police said.
With the help of a witness who followed the car and wrote down the tag number and a description of the men, police arrested Wesley Eugene Baker, 33, of Baltimore, and Gregory Lawrence, 34, of Woodlawn.
Both are charged with first-degree murder, robbery with a deadly weapon and use of a handgun in the commission of a felony. They were held without bond in the Baltimore County Detention Center after a bail review hearing yesterday in Towson District Court.
The Rev. Lou Martin, pastor of St. Lawrence church, implored Mrs. Tyson's family and friends to try to put aside any hateful feelings.
"It is human to feel anger and hurt against those who took her life," Father Martin said, adding, but nothing good will come out of those feelings.
"Make the right choices, choices that will bring God's love into the world," he said.
The violent, senseless act that claimed Mrs. Tyson's life can not be undone, he said.
"We can stop hatred by loving. If we stand for integrity, it will spread. The young children will feel it, and it will grow from there," Father Martin said.
Mrs. Tyson would have been in favor of anyone being a positive influence on the life of a child, friends and family said.
A nephew stood up at the Mass and told of his aunt, "who would take the time to share." He recalled that she always remembered his birthday with a telephone call and a birthday card with a $10 bill inside.
Father Martin recalled a woman who served as a "greeter" in the church by welcoming people and who took time to fix dinner for the homeless.
She was a woman, he said, who believed in living every moment.
He added one final word to the men who took the life of Jane Tyson. "You may have taken her body but God has taken her home," he said.