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Thousands Attend Slain Cambridge Boy's Funeral Mass

* Friends, family and neighbors honor Jeffrey Curley

By Jenny E. Heller, CONTRIBUTING WRITER

Seven open limousines overflowing with flowers slowly pulled up in front of the Sacred Heart of Jesus Church in East Cambridge to honor the memory of ten-year-old Jeffrey J. Curley.

About 1,500 people gathered at the church on Saturday to attend Jeffrey's funeral Mass.

Jeffrey was abducted from his grandmother's home in East Cambridge on Oct. 2 and was murdered. His body was found in the Piscataqua River near the New Hampshire-Maine border last Tuesday. Two local men are being held in connection with Jeffrey's death.

The mourners, many of whom were attired in black, began to line up outside the church at 8:45 a.m. for the 10 a.m. Mass. Many of Jeffrey's young friends and classmates were present in the crowd gathered outside and inside the church, located in a quiet residential community of tree-lined streets and small yellow, white and blue houses.

Peter Killackey played on Jeffrey's youth baseball team, the Marlins. Peter said he plans to honor Jeffrey's memory by putting Jeffrey's team number on his cap during the next baseball season.

"He was smart. He had good reflexes," Peter said. "He loved a lot of people, and I miss him."

Many funeral attendees described Jeffrey's profound impact on his school and neighborhood communities.

"He knew almost everyone," said Valerie Ford, whose son also played on the Marlins.

His classmates cried on each other's shoulders, and couples stood with their arms around each other.

Some members of the East Cambridge neighborhood said they will always remember Jeffrey in a special way.

Stephanie Perine said that she often used to baby-sit Jeffrey. "We were close friends. He used to watch me do my laundry," she said.

The funeral procession began shortly before 10 a.m. and bag pipers played a funeral tune as a police motorcade preceded the hearse, and five limousines carrying the close family and friends of the victim followed.

Members of the Cambridge fire and police departments stood outside the church, holding a large American flag and the flags of their respective departments.

As the pallbearers removed the coffin from the hearse, an honor guard from the Cambridge Fire Department saluted the coffin while bag pipers played a solemn rendition of "Amazing Grace."

The celebrant of the funeral Mass was Father Kevin Toomey. The readings and the sermon focused on the future and on the beauty of Jeffrey's short life.

"It is [through God] that we see comfort in the midst of the confusion around us," Father Toomey said in his sermon.

He praised Jeffrey's qualities and his role in the community.

"To know Jeffrey was to know a youngster who was a good kid...he had an endearing personality," said Father Toomey. "His innocence and trust in people would be the means of his death."

Father Toomey also spoke directly to Jeffrey's young friends and classmates.

"Don't be afraid to go on with your lives. Honor his memory by being good," Toomey said.

Jeffrey's parents, Robert and Barbara, presented the offertory gifts to the altar.

Mrs. Curley leaned heavily on her husband's arm as they returned to their seats at the front of the church.

She left the church attended by her two older sons, Sean and Robert.

The mourners proceeded to Mt. Auburn Cemetery for the burial.

After the funeral some attendees expressed their anger, frustration and sorrow over the events of the last few weeks.

"I don't care who you are. You can't not be affected by this, especially when you have kids who played with him," said Ford.

"I have to tell my kids not to trust anybody," he said

Jeffrey's parents, Robert and Barbara, presented the offertory gifts to the altar.

Mrs. Curley leaned heavily on her husband's arm as they returned to their seats at the front of the church.

She left the church attended by her two older sons, Sean and Robert.

The mourners proceeded to Mt. Auburn Cemetery for the burial.

After the funeral some attendees expressed their anger, frustration and sorrow over the events of the last few weeks.

"I don't care who you are. You can't not be affected by this, especially when you have kids who played with him," said Ford.

"I have to tell my kids not to trust anybody," he said

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