Patients and others mourn Michelle Liggio

A police officer at the site of the apparent murder-suicide shooting of Pennsauken doctor Michelle Liggio Tuesday, June 18, 2013. Christopher Liggio allegedly shot and killed his wife before turning the gun on himself. TOM GRALISH / Staff Photographer
A police officer at the site of the apparent murder-suicide shooting of Pennsauken doctor Michelle Liggio Tuesday, June 18, 2013. Christopher Liggio allegedly shot and killed his wife before turning the gun on himself. TOM GRALISH / Staff Photographer
Posted: June 28, 2013

The mammogram showed no traces of cancer. Still, Dolli Lupica felt a sharp pain in one breast.

So Lupica immediately called her general practitioner, Michelle E. Liggio. The Pennsauken doctor quickly ordered more tests, which picked up two tumors that Lupica's visit to a specialist had not caught: stage 3 cancer.

Liggio "saved my life," Lupica, a 70-year-old great-grandmother of 12, said Wednesday.

On Wednesday, Lupica, other patients, and mourners streamed into the Bradley Funeral Home in Marlton to remember Liggio, shot to death by her husband in a murder-suicide June 18.

Inside, a line stretched out of the viewing room and snaked around a nearby room.

Some mourners waited for more than an hour and shared memories.

Pictures of Liggio flashed on a screen, including photos of her two sons, now teenage, when they were young.

Outside, patients remembered her fondly: She did not rush them through appointments, some said.

She had a knack for bringing up health concerns they would rather ignore. She called patients at home. She tussled with an insurance company on one patient's behalf.

Lupica knelt beside the open casket and bawled. Mourners brought her water.

"I lost all power in my arms and legs," she said outside the funeral home. "They had to carry me away from the coffin."

'I loved her'

Some who came to pay respects took time out of their lunch breaks. One woman took a half-day off.

John McGlaughlin, an 11th-grade teacher at the Murrell Dobbins Career & Technical Education High School in Philadelphia, could not talk about Liggio without choking up.

"I didn't know I loved her until she died," he said, his voice weak after the viewing. "I know I respected her."

McGlaughlin, 66, recalled how Liggio praised him for recent test results. But then she patted his stomach.

"This is the thing we're worried about now," he remembered her saying, referring to his paunch.

'My rock'

Liggio, 47, had recently filed for divorce from her husband, Christopher, 58, who owned a landscaping company.

A viewing was held for Christopher Liggio at the Bradley Home on Tuesday. He was cremated, his family said.

The day of her death, the Mount Laurel couple argued in her Pennsauken office in the morning.

He returned during the practice's lunch break, shot her, and then turned the gun on himself.

Employees said they heard her pleading "No, no, no!" law enforcement sources said.

Liggio was "my rock," Lupica said. "People had sicknesses, and she gave them hope."


Contact Darran Simon at 856-779-3829 or at dsimon@phillynews.com, or follow on Twitter @darransimon.

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