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Heather Heyer remembered for 'passion' at memorial service

By Allen Cone
Heather Heyer remembered for 'passion' at memorial service
Heathery Heyer, who died after being struck by a vehicle in Charlottesville, Va., last weekend, was remembered in a memorial service Wednesday. Photo courtesy Heyer Family

Aug. 16 (UPI) -- Heather Heyer, the 32-year-old woman who died after she was hit by a car in Charlottesville last weekend, was remembered as a passionate woman at her memorial service Wednesday.

"She showed her passion at an early age," her grandfather, Elwood Shrader, said during the service at packed 1,000-seat Paramount Theater, a few blocks from where she died. "She could call out something that wasn't right."

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Her father, Mark Heyer, used similar terms.

"All I remember is Heather's passion," he said. "It extended to her life, her thoughts."

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Her father was emotional during the service.

"No father should have to do this," he said.

"She wanted equality and in this issue of the day of her passing, she wanted to put down hate. And for my part, we just need to stop all this stuff and just forgive each other."

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During the contentious demonstrations Saturday, a car rammed into a crowd of counter-protesters, killing Heyer and injuring 19 others. The driver, James Alex Fields, Jr., was charged with second-degree murder.

Heyer's mother, Susan Bro, said at Wednesday's service. "They tried to kill my child to shut her up. Well guess what? You just magnified her."

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Friends and family were asked to wear purple to the memorial -- Heyer's favorite color.

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"I came here today and I was overwhelmed," Mark Heyer said. "I was overwhelmed at the rainbow of colors in this room. That's how Heather was. It didn't matter who you were or where you were from. If she loved you, that was it. You were stuck. So for that, I'm truly proud of my daughter."

A paralegal, Heyer was remembered as someone who sought justice throughout her life.

"In earlier years she wanted fairness and justice, she wanted everyone to get equal respect," said Shrader. "She was a lady of happiness and joy and for her, all lives matter."

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"Did I ever tell you how much I loved you? Heather, when my children ask me who I admire most I will tell them you," cousin Diana Ratcliff read in a letter. "My baby cousin, who is larger than life and too good for this world."

"You will always be in our hearts."

Virginia's Gov. Terry McAuliffe and Sen. Tim Kaine, last year's Democratic vice presidential candidate, attended the service.

President Donald Trump, who on Tuesday said both sides shared the blame for the violence, posted on Twitter Wednesday. "Memorial service today for beautiful and incredible Heather Heyer, a truly special young woman. She will be long remembered by all!"

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