'Keep The Joy That Mary And Susanna Had'

'Keep The Joy That Mary And Susanna Had'
SEATTLE - Thousands of people gathered Sunday to remember two women murdered on a hiking trail in Snohomish County.

Children from the elementary school where Mary Cooper was a librarian opened the service with a song, and friends of Susanna Stodden brought smiles with funny tales from camping trips.

"When I think of Susanna I laugh because that's how I always felt when I was with her," Liz Gue said.

About 2,000 people packed Ballard High School's gymnasium to remember the mother and daughter. Husband and father David Stodden thanked the community for the overwhelming support, making one brief reference to how the women died.

But this service was about how they lived.

"The thousands and thousands of positive things Mary and Susanna did far outweigh this one bad thing," he said tearfully.

For Susanna, it was her love of nature, her passion for the environment, her broad smile while dancing.

"Susanna filled the world around her with amusement and wonder sampling so much in her 27 years, " friend Alexa Kunitsugu said. "We should all live our lives like this. In honor of her life, I intend to."

Mary's friends and colleagues spoke of her dedication to education, her faith in children, her passion for literature and affairs of the world.

"Mary was a card caring optimist. She believed in the possibility of change," Libby Sinclair said. "She believed the ability of a single person to make a difference. She believed that the goodness of people could ultimately prevail over evil."

They were - friends say - some of the most wonderful people you could know.

"Keep the joy that Mary and Susanna had," Teresa Swanson said. "And tell those you love - I love you."