PEARL RIVER, N.Y. — The mother of a bride-to-be killed in a suburban New York boat crash urged the grieving groom and other mourners Thursday to turn the accident into a "source of strength."
"Tragedy is a word that will forever be linked with Lindsey and Mark," said Carol Stewart-Kosik, speaking to an overflow crowd at the stucco and stone church where Lindsey Stewart would have married Brian Bond on Aug. 10. Their best man, Mark Lennon, was also killed.
"I was supposed to be out there (in the congregation) and Lindsey was supposed to be up here" at the altar for the wedding, said Stewart-Kosik.
But the boat they were riding in smashed into a barge Friday night on the Hudson River. The powerboat's operator, another friend of the couple, faces a charge of vehicular manslaughter.
"I can't remove the word 'tragedy' from her legacy any more than I can push a barge out of the way," said Stewart-Kosik. But, she added, "tragedy should be utilized as a source of strength."
She repeated that urging as she turned to her daughter's fiance, who attended the funeral with a bruised eye and an arm in a sling.
"Lindsey loved you with every fiber of her being," she told him. "Use this tragedy as a source of strength."
When she finished, she went to his pew and hugged him.
Stewart's sister, Allyson Ruzicka, said she wants Stewart to be remembered for her love of life, her honesty and "for the way she loved the incredible man she was about to marry."
"Rest peacefully, beautiful angel," she bade her sister.
The Rev. John Havrilla, pastor of the Church of the Good Shepherd, remembered Stewart as a "loving, fun spirit."
The accident, he said, has touched the hearts of strangers as well as loved ones.
Havrilla said he's received emails of support "from people I have not seen ... continents far away and states down south."
The bride's mother and stepfather suggested Wednesday that poor lighting on the barge was responsible for the crash and complained of a rush to blame their boat's operator.
The stationary barge was carrying construction materials for the $3.9 billion project to build a new Tappan Zee Bridge across the Hudson.
Investigators have said they are looking into whether the barge was properly lighted. The Coast Guard and the state Thruway Authority, which is building the bridge, have said it was. Lighting was added after the crash.