Tearful gathering for Love viewing on Friday

Cousin: 'No consolation for the loss of this beautiful girl'

May 07, 2010|By Mary Gail Hare, The Baltimore Sun

Hundreds of mourners gathered Friday in Towson to pay their respects to Yeardley Love, the lacrosse player from Cockeysville killed this week at the University of Virginia.

Tearful friends, relatives, classmates and teammates filed past the closed casket at Ruck Towson Funeral Home and attempted to console Love's mother and sister.

"I'm so shocked that somebody so young with so much potential is gone," said 18-year-old Caroline Conover of Towson, a student at Notre Dame Prep at the same time as Love.

"We're all sisters at NDP, and we feel deeply for this family."

"We just want to try to be there and somehow try to make this easier for the family," said Barbara Conover, her mother. "I know the mother can sense the huge amount of support."

The funeral home was thick with flowers, several in bouquets addressed to "The Big Y" and signed with what appeared to be the uniform numbers of lacrosse teammates.

Mackie Lawrence, a distant relative of Love's, said it took more than 40 minutes to get through the line.

"All these people and all this outpouring must be a comfort," the Guilford woman said. She said the family had come together recently for the funeral of an elderly cousin.

"He had a long, rich life," Lawrence said. "There is no consolation for the loss of this beautiful girl."

A montage of photographs followed Love from infancy to the University of Virginia, from which she was to graduate this month. There were dozens of pictures of Love with her sister, Alexis; others showed her celebrating with lacrosse teammates. Several mourners carried lacrosse sticks into the funeral home.

"We're supporting the lacrosse world," said Kirby Houck, a 2008 Johns Hopkins University graduate who arrived with former Garrison Forest teammate Britta Williams, a 2008 graduate of the University of North Carolina. Both played against Love in college.

"Every time I played against her, she was always so sweet," Houck said. "She was a genuine person."

Love, 22, a player on Virginia's nationally ranked women's lacrosse team, was found dead in her Charlottesville, Va., apartment early Monday. George Huguely of Chevy Chase, a member of the Virginia men's lacrosse team and a former boyfriend, has been charged with first-degree murder.

"I think it's such a tragedy… she was a wonderful person," said Susan Rose, who attended the Friday night viewing.

Rose, a Baltimore City resident, said she knew Love's mother. "I don't know how she's still standing," she said. "I'm sure Yeardley is in Heaven. She's fine, it's just those who remain who are grieving that are suffering."

Mourners also spoke of launching a campaign to raise awareness about domestic violence.

"There's too much drinking and these kids need to be made aware of the consequences," Barbara Conover said. "Everyone is offering to give the family support, and if there is any kind of campaign, a lot of people will be involved in it.

"I think this could bring a lot of positive changes on college campus," she said. "Maybe in the future, this tragedy can help hundreds of young girls."

Caroline Conover, a student at Villanova University outside Philadelphia, said, "A lot of people my age know that [domestic violence is] a problem. But they don't know it can happen anywhere."

Outside the funeral home, state and county police directed the heavily congested traffic on York Road, in some cases walking mourners across the street.

"These people are being very respectful," police spokeswoman Louise Rogers-Feher said. "Obviously, they're saddened by this tragedy and we're doing whatever we can to maintain their safety."

Love's funeral is scheduled for Saturday at the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen.

mary.gail.hare@baltsun.com

Sun reporter Jessica Anderson contributed to this article.

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