Gabby Petito: Father Pays Touching Tribute At Emotional Funeral Service
Gabby Petito’s father, Joseph Petito, paid a touching tribute to his 22-year-old daughter as he spoke at her memorial service this weekend.
Her case caught the attention of people across the globe as her family and social media followers quickly began to express concern about her whereabouts, and as a result, large crowds consisting of both loved ones and complete strangers gathered to pay their respects on Sunday, September 26 at a memorial service held in Holbrook, New York.
Joseph addressed the attendees as he paid tribute to his 22-year-old daughter, who he described in his eulogy as a ‘happy girl’ who people would gravitate towards, CNN reports.
The father recalled Petito’s love of being outdoors, which was reflected in her travelling across national parks in the US with her fiancé, Brian Laundrie, ahead of her untimely death.
Petito was also said to be a fan of scuba diving, hiking the Appalachian Trail and snowboarding down sand dunes in Colorado, and her father expressed his hopes that people would be ‘inspired by Gabby’, explaining that is what the family is ‘looking for’.
He said: ‘If there’s a trip that you guys want to take, take it now. Do it now while you’ve got the time.’
Joseph went on to make an apparent reference to Laundrie, who returned from travelling without Petito and who was later seen in footage caught in an altercation with the YouTuber, by saying: ‘If there’s a relationship that you’re in that might not be the best thing for you, leave it now’.
With Petito’s story reaching so many people, her father said the family had received emails from people across the country who have made the decision to leave relationships because of what happened to Petito, explaining people are ‘putting themselves first’.
After returning home from their trip alone, Laundrie has since gone missing.
Petito’s stepfather, Jim Schmidt, joined Joseph in speaking at the memorial as he told mourners that ‘parents aren’t supposed to bury their children’, adding: ‘That’s not how this is supposed to work.’
Schmidt described Petito as ‘an example for all of us to live by’, ensuring we ‘enjoy every moment in this beautiful world, as she did – to love and give love to all like she did.’
The memorial, which was open to the public, welcomed a long procession of mourners to see the alter surrounded by pictures of Petito, while signs posted outside paid tribute to the young woman with the words ‘Forever in our hearts’.
If you have experienced a bereavement and would like to speak with someone in confidence contact Cruse Bereavement Care via their national helpline on 0808 808 1677
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