MIAMI BEACH, FLA. (WSVN) - A funeral was held at a Miami Beach church in honor of a family of four killed in the partial collapse of Champlain Towers South in Surfside.
Three caskets were carried into St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, as family and friends of the Guara family shed tears while they said their final goodbyes on Tuesday.
“We have spent these last 12 days trying to figure out how to understand and accept this,” family member Peter Milian said. “Why them? Why now? This is really hard.”
Marcus Guara, Anaely Rodriguez, Emma Guara and Lucia Guara were all killed when part of the condo building collapsed on June 24. Emma and Lucia, who were 4 and 11 years old respectively, were placed into the same casket to be buried together.
“It is not possible to express the essence of such beautiful souls,” Digna Rodriguez, Anaely’s sister, said. “The light, the beauty they brought to this world and to our lives cannot be quantified.”
The four were described as an adventurous family who loved to travel. Friends said Marcus adored his two daughters and was the kindest man who would give the shirt off his back.
According to family members, Lucia loved singing, outer space and family, and Emma was described as a princess who loved building obstacle courses in the living room and her family.
The family’s obituary reads, “Together in heaven.”
“Their togetherness was so powerful that one could never imagine them being apart,” Milian said. “As I look down now, we know that they’re never going to be apart.”
Following the Mass, the Guara family was taken to Caballero Rivero Cemetery in North Miami, which will be their final resting place.
In addition, Hilda Noriega, the mother of North Bay Village Police Chief Carlos Noriega, was also laid to rest on Tuesday at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Miami Beach.
Noriega was 92 years old, but according to family members, she acted 30 years younger. She was described as energetic and as the most loving grandmother, mother and one of the kindest people.
The 92-year-old lived in apartment 602 of Champlain Towers South, and when the family went to the collapse site, in the midst of the rubble, they found a birthday card addressed to her and photos.
“When I saw the — what looked like a war zone movie scene that I never thought I would experience in reality, my grandmother’s building of all places — when I saw that, it felt like a piece of me died in that moment,” Michael Noriega, her grandson, said.
Noriega had lived in the condo for 20 years and just listed her unit for sale. Meanwhile, her family said their final goodbyes to a grandmother taken too soon.
“I know that she’s in heaven with Jesus, and that she’s OK,” Noriega said.
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