Three of the seven people slaughtered in the July 4th parade shooting in Highland Park, Ill., were laid to rest Friday. Services
Three of the seven people slaughtered in the July 4th parade shooting in Highland Park, Ill., were laid to rest Friday.
Services were held for 88-year-old Stephen Straus, 63-year-old Jacquelyn Sundheim, and 78-year-old Nicolas Toledo-Zaragoza — all gunned down as they gathered to watch an Independence Day parade in the Chicagoland suburb.
“I want you to laugh,” Sundheim’s daughter Leah told those gathered at North Shore Congregation Israel Friday. “I want you to each and every day put a little more joy and kindness into this world.
“Do not let this sadness, this fear, rage turn you bitter towards our world,” she said, while on the verge of tears. “The world is darker without my mom in it, and it’s up to us now to fill it with a little extra laughter.”
Leah said she “cannot process” the fact that Sundheim would not be there “when I have my baby or meet the love of my life, and that fills me with a rage and emptiness that scares me,” the Chicago Tribune reported.
Sundheim was remembered as an active member of her congregation, who loved to plan community events, bat or bar mitzahs, weddings or funerals. She was remembered for her attention to detail, her love of knitting, and her dedication in teaching preschool classes.
Several miles south, at the Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation in Evanston, mourners remembered Straus for his sense of humor and his love of art and literature.
“We are here this morning with brokenness,” said Rabbi Rachel Weiss. “We are here this morning in shock and disbelief and despair and grief.
“We are here in a painful incredulity that this is the world we are living in,” she added.
Straus’ son, Jonathan, said his father was “truly, to his core, just a sweet, generous person.
“Thinking about what a good, giving, loving person he was, it makes the cruelty and the horror of his death that much harder to take,” he said. “When I see pictures of him … it really just sweeps over me, what we’ve lost, who I lost, my best friend ever.”
Straus, who still took a train to downtown Chicago five days a week to work as a financial advisor, was remembered as sharp, fit and funny.
Funeral services for a third victim, Toledo-Zaragoza, were planned for later Friday.
The 78-year-old Mexican immigrant was shot three times while attending the parade with his family.
Toledo-Zaragoza’s granddaughter, Xochil Toledo, told The Post that her grandfather initially didn’t want to attend the parade, because he worried about being in a large crowd with his walker.
“He was like, ‘No, I think I should stay, I’m in a walker, there’s going to be a lot of people, I don’t think I should go,’ ” Xochil recalled.
“My father and [aunt], they were like, ‘How could we leave you here by yourself? We’d never do that to you no matter if you’re in a wheelchair or walker, we’re still going to take you with us,’ and then the tragedy happened.”
Services for a fourth victim, 69-year-old Eduardo Uvaldo, are scheduled for Saturday.
Additional reporting by Haley Brown, Gabrielle Fonrouge and Post wires