Nearly 1000 firefighters join family, friends and dignitaries at funeral
By Melanie Petrucci
Senior Community Reporter
Worcester – Well over 1,000 firefighters from all over New England, and as far away as Canada, attended a funeral to pay their respects to fallen Worcester Firefighter Christopher J. Roy. Services were held Dec. 15 at St. John’s Catholic Church in Worcester.
The somber occasion began with overcast skies and grounds which were damp from overnight rain. Clouds began to clear just as the funeral Mass concluded which was celebrated by Worcester Fire Department Chaplain, the Reverend Walter Riley.
Pall bearers were Firefighters David Scavone, Sean Sullivan, Chris Johnson, and Timothy Willoughby, Caban Willoughby, Derek Willoughby and Steven Scavone as well as a number of honorary pall bearers.
The Placing of the Pall was attended to by his immediate family and readings were given by Worcester Fire Chief Michael Lavoie and Ryan Lynch.
Moving eulogies were shared by firefighters Edward Kelly and Jay Colbert and Lieutenant Michael Papagni who had difficulty containing their emotions. Their personal stories illustrated Roy’s integrity and selflessness.
“The job of a firefighter is not something that just anybody can do. This job is truly a calling. It takes a special kind of person, someone with a huge heart, a person of character and, of course, a person with great compassion. All of the attributes explained Roy to a ‘T,’” Kelly said.
Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito were among the mourners and they were joined by U.S. senators Edward Markey (D-MA) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) as well as U.S. Congressman James McGovern (D-MA 2nd District.)
State Sen. Michael Moore (D-Millbury) and State Rep. Hannah Kane (R-Shrewsbury) were also in attendance as were Worcester County District Attorney Joseph D. Early, Jr., Worcester City Manager Edward M. Augustus, Jr. and Worcester County Sheriff Lewis Evangelidis.
Roy, 36, had been with the Worcester Fire Department for 2-1/2 years and was stationed at the Webster Square Fire Station, having served on Ladder 4.
He succumbed to injuries sustained while fighting a five-alarm fire on Lowell Street in the early morning hours of Dec. 9.
A resident of Shrewsbury, he is survived by his immediate family – 9 year old daughter, Ava, his parents Ronald and Michele (Pepin) Roy of Worcester as well as a brother, Jason Roy and his wife Jennifer, also of Shrewsbury.
He was laid to rest at Notre Dame Cemetery immediately following the service and a procession that passed by the Webster Square Fire Station, one last time.
Memorial contributions in memory of Roy can be made to “The Ava Roy Fund” c/o Worcester Fire Department Credit Union, 34 Glennie St., Worcester, MA 01605.