The bright-eyed, the dedicated

Ana Marquez-Greene, 6
Ana Marquez-Greene, 6
Posted: December 19, 2012

A look at some of those who died in Newtown, Conn.:

Charlotte Bacon, 6

They were supposed to be for the holidays, but finally on Friday, after hearing much begging, Charlotte Bacon's mother relented and let her wear the new pink dress and boots to school.

It was the last outfit the outgoing redhead would ever pick out. Charlotte's older brother, Guy, was also in the school but was not shot.

Her parents, JoAnn and Joel, had lived in Newtown for four or five years, JoAnn's brother John Hagen, of Nisswa, Minn., told Newsday. "She was going to go some places in this world," Hagen told the newspaper. "This little girl could light up the room for anyone."

Daniel Barden, 7

Daniel's family says he was "fearless in the pursuit of happiness in life."

He was the youngest of three children, and in a statement to the media, his family said Daniel earned his missing two front teeth and ripped jeans.

"Words really cannot express what a special boy Daniel was. Such a light. Always smiling, unfailingly polite, incredibly affectionate, fair and so thoughtful towards others, imaginative in play, both intelligent and articulate in conversation: in all, a constant source of laughter and joy," the family said.

Rachel D'Avino, 29

Days before the Connecticut shooting rampage, the boyfriend of Rachel D'Avino had asked her parents for permission to marry her.

D'Avino was a behavioral therapist who had only recently started working at the school where she was killed, according to Lissa Lovetere Stone, a friend who is handling her funeral, planned for Friday. D'Avino's boyfriend, Anthony Cerritelli, was going to ask her to marry him on Christmas Eve, Lovetere Stone said.

Lovetere Stone said she met D'Avino in 2005 when D'Avino was assigned to her son, who has autism, in their town of Bethlehem. D'Avino, 29, was so dedicated she would make home visits and constantly offer guidance on handling situations such as helping her son deal with loud music at a wedding.

"Her job didn't end when the school bell rang at 3 o'clock," Lovetere Stone said.

Police told her family that she shielded one of the students during the rampage, Lovetere Stone said.

Olivia Engel, 6

Images of Olivia Rose Engel show a happy child, one with a great sense of humor, as her family said in a statement. There she is, visiting with Santa Claus, or feasting on a slice of birthday cake. Or swinging a pink baseball bat, posing on a boat, or making a silly face.

Olivia loved school, did very well in math and reading, and was "insightful for her age," said the statement released by her uncle, John Engel.

She was a child who "lit up a room and the people around her." Creative with drawing and designing, she was also a tennis and soccer player and took art classes, swimming, and dance lessons in ballet and hip- hop. A Daisy Girl Scout, she enjoyed musical theater.

"She was a great big sister and was always very patient with her 3-year-old brother, Brayden," her family said.

Olivia was learning the rosary and always led grace before the family dinner. "She was a grateful child who was always appreciative and never greedy," the family said.

Josephine Gay, 7

Josephine Gay had just turned 7, three days before the shooting.

She liked to ride her bike on her family's quiet cul-de-sac, and over the summer she set up a lemonade stand, according to CNN.

Josephine loved the color purple. On Monday, there were purple balloons attached to her family's mailbox and the mailboxes of all the neighbors. The yellow house she lived in had a jungle gym out back.

A person who answered the phone at Mother of God Catholic Church in Covington, Ky., said Josephine was the great-niece of the pastor, the Rev. Raymond Hartman.

Dylan Hockley, 6

The Hockley family moved to Sandy Hook two years ago from England, in love with the sense of community and the elementary school that their boys, Dylan and Jake, would attend. Dylan's mother, Nicole, is American, and his father, Ian, is British.

They moved into a house on the same street as the mother of the shooter, Adam Lanza.

In a statement, the family said their younger boy had thrived at Sandy Hook.

"We do not and shall never regret this choice," the Hockleys said. "Our boys have flourished here and our family's happiness has been limitless."

Dylan had a beaming smile. He played tag every morning at the bus stop with neighbors, bounced on the trampoline and played computer games.

Dylan adored his teacher's aide, Anne Marie Murphy, and would point to her picture on the family fridge every day. They took great comfort, they said, knowing that when Dylan died, he was wrapped in Murphy's arms.

Madeleine Hsu, 6

Dr. Matthew Velsmid was at Madeleine's house on Saturday, tending to her stricken family. He said the family did not want to comment.

Velsmid said that after hearing of the shooting, he went to the triage area to provide medical assistance, but there were no injuries to treat.

"We were waiting for casualties to come out, and there was nothing. There was no need, unfortunately," he said. "This is the darkest thing I've ever walked into, by far."

Velsmid's daughter, who attends another school, lost three of her friends.

Catherine Hubbard, 6

Catherine's parents released a statement expressing gratitude to emergency responders and for the support of the community.

"We are greatly saddened by the loss of our beautiful daughter, Catherine Violet, and our thoughts and prayers are with the other families who have been affected by this tragedy," Jennifer and Matthew Hubbard said. "We ask that you continue to pray for us and the other families who have experienced loss in this tragedy."

Jesse Lewis, 6

Jesse Lewis had hot chocolate with his favorite breakfast sandwich - sausage, egg, and cheese - at the neighborhood deli before going to school Friday morning.

Jesse and his parents were regulars at the Misty Vale Deli in Sandy Hook, Conn., owner Angel Salazar told the Wall Street Journal.

"He was always friendly; he always liked to talk," Salazar said.

Jesse's family has a collection of animals he enjoyed playing with, and he was learning to ride horseback.

Family friend Barbara McSperrin told the Journal that Jesse was "a typical 6-year-old little boy, full of life."

James Mattioli, 6

James Mattioli especially loved recess and math, and his family described him as a "numbers guy" who came up with insights beyond his years to explain the relationship between numbers. He particularly loved the concept of googolplex, which a friend taught him.

He was born four weeks before his due date, and his family often joked that he came into the world early because he was hungry.

They wrote in his obituary that 6-year-old James, fondly called "J," loved hamburgers with ketchup, his father's omelets with bacon, and his mother's french toast. He was a thoughtful and considerate child, recently choosing to forgo a gift for himself and use the money to buy his grandfather a mug for Christmas.

A funeral for James will be Tuesday in Newtown.

Grace Audrey McDonnell, 7

With broken hearts, the parents of Grace Audrey McDonnell said Sunday that they couldn't believe the outpouring of support they have received since the little girl who was the center of their lives died in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.

Lynn and Chris McDonnell called their 7-year-old daughter "the love and light" of their family in a statement released by the little girl's uncle.

The family also shared a photo featuring Grace smiling into the camera, her eyes shining and a pink bow adorning her long blond hair.

"Words cannot adequately express our sense of loss," the McDonnells said.

Anne Marie Murphy, 52

A happy soul. A good mother, wife and daughter. Artistic, fun-loving, witty, and hardworking.

Remembering their daughter, Anne Marie Murphy, her parents had no shortage of adjectives to offer Newsday. When news of the shooting broke, Hugh and Alice McGowan waited for word of their daughter as hours ticked by. And then it came.

Authorities told the couple their daughter was a hero who helped shield some of her students from the rain of bullets. As the grim news arrived, the victim's mother reached for her rosary.

"You don't expect your daughter to be murdered," her father told the newspaper. "It happens on TV. It happens elsewhere."

Jack Pinto, 6

Jack Pinto was a huge New York Giants fan.

The team's wide receiver Victor Cruz said he talked to Jack's family, which is considering burying the 6-year-old boy in Cruz's No. 80 jersey.

Cruz honored Jack on Sunday on his cleats, writing on them the words "Jack Pinto, My Hero" and "R.I.P. Jack Pinto."

"I also spoke to an older brother and he was distraught as well. I told him to stay strong and I was going to do whatever I can to honor him," Cruz said after the Giants' game with the Atlanta Falcons. "He was fighting tears and could barely speak to me."

Cruz said he plans to give the gloves he wore during the game to the boy's family and spend some time with them.

"There's no words that can describe the type of feeling that you get when a kid idolizes you so much that unfortunately they want to put him in the casket with your jersey on," he said. "I can't even explain it."

Jack's funeral was held on Monday at the Honan Funeral Home in Newtown, followed by burial at the Newtown Village Cemetery.

Noah Pozner, 6

Noah was "smart as a whip," gentle but with a rambunctious streak, said his uncle, Alexis Haller of Woodinville, Wash.

He was part of a big family. His twin sister, Arielle, assigned to a different classroom, survived the shooting. He called Arielle his best friend and loved her dearly, along with big sisters Danielle and Sophia and big brother Michael.

"They were always playing together. They loved to do things together," Haller said. When his mother, a nurse, would tell him she loved him, he would answer, "Not as much as I love you, Mom."'

Haller said Noah loved to read and liked to figure out how things worked mechanically. He was already a very good reader. He loved animals, video games, and Nintendo's Mario Brothers characters. For his birthday two weeks ago, he got a new Wii.

Caroline Previdi, 6

Caroline Previdi had an infectious grin and a giving heart.

"Caroline Phoebe Previdi was a blessing from God and brought joy to everyone she touched," her parents, Jeff and Sandy Previdi, said in a statement. "We know that she is looking down on us from Heaven."

On Facebook, friends remembered when her big brother, Walker, was in preschool, and how Caroline would come with her mom to pick him up. A Sandy Hook father posted photos of Caroline with another shooting victim, Olivia Engel, as well as his own daughter, who survived the attack. All three are grinning and wearing blue tutus.

Family friend David Sutch said Jeff and Sandy talk about their children all the time. On Thursday, the day before the shooting, the Previdis' annual Christmas card arrived. It had a picture of Caroline and Walker on either side of the family's Lab.

On Monday, Sutch wore a white shirt and green tie - Sandy Hook's colors - in memory of Caroline.

Jessica Rekos, 6

"Jessica loved everything about horses," her parents, Rich and Krista Rekos said in a statement. "She devoted her free time to watching horse movies, reading horse books, drawing horses, and writing stories about horses."

When she turned 10, they promised, she could have a horse of her own. For Christmas, she asked Santa for new cowgirl boots and hat.

The Rekoses described their daughter as "a creative, beautiful little girl who loved playing with her little brothers, Travis and Shane.

"She spent time writing in her journals, making up stories, and doing 'research' on orca whales - one of her passions after seeing the movie Free Willy last year." Her dream of seeing a real orca was realized in October when she went to SeaWorld.

Jessica, first born in the family, "was our rock," the parents said. "She had an answer for everything, she didn't miss a trick, and she outsmarted us every time." A thoughtful planner, she was "our little CEO."

Avielle Richman, 6

Avielle Richman, a first grader at Sandy Hook Elementary School, loved riding horses. Her trainer, Annette Sullivan, the owner of Zoar Ridge Stables in Sandy Hook, said she would "giggle when she trotted" and liked to wear her pink cowboy boots.

Sullivan said that 6-year-old Avielle wanted an Easy-Bake Oven for Christmas, "because she wanted to be able to make her mom cookies."

"Her smile could get her out of anything," said Sullivan, and she was on the verge of losing her first tooth.

"She showed me her wiggly tooth; she was so excited," said Sullivan.

"She was the most delightful little girl you ever met in your life," said Sullivan.

Autumn Jones was Avielle's camp counselor at Zoar Ridge Stables this summer, and said she loved being around the horses.

"We'd make sure to put her on the small horse, because she was so tiny," said Jones.

Jones said Avielle would often reach out to hold her hand as they walked from one part of the camp to another. "She always wanted to hold hands," said Jones.

Benjamin Wheeler, 6

Music surrounded Benjamin Wheeler as he grew up in a household where both his mother and father were performers.

They left behind stage careers in New York City when they moved to Newtown with Benjamin and his older brother, Nate.

"We knew we wanted a piece of lawn, somewhere quiet, somewhere with good schools," Francine Wheeler told the Newtown Bee in a profile.

She is a music educator and singer-songwriter. Sometimes the musical mother would try out tunes on her own children, with some tunes that she made up for Ben as a baby eventually finding their way onto a CD, she told the newspaper.

Benjamin's father, David, a former film and television actor, writes and performs still, according to a profile on the website of the Flagpole Radio Cafe theater, with which he has performed in Newtown.

The family belongs to Trinity Episcopal Church, whose website noted that Nate, also a student at Sandy Hook Elementary School, was not harmed in Friday's shooting.

Allison Wyatt, 6

Allison Wyatt lived for only 6 years, but in that short time she had a big influence on those who knew her.

On Sunday, neighbors mourned the loss of a "nice and outgoing young girl."

The cars of a half-dozen mourners were parked in the driveway of the Wyatt family's home with a covered porch and a white picket fence.

An emotional next-door neighbor, Ana, who asked that her last name not to be used, described Allison as a "very nice person." Allison liked to garden with her mother and was always outside in the summer, the neighbor said. "I'm so sad now," Ana said.

- AP and Hearst

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