Services Held for Victims of Colorado Theater Shooting
AURORA, Co. -- They laughed, they cried, they celebrated a young life lost too soon.

Those attending Jessica Ghawi's memorial service Saturday at a San Antonio church heard numerous adjectives describing the hockey fan and aspiring sports broadcaster.

"Spitfire." "Spunky." "Clumsy." "Tough."

The descriptions punctuated a service that lauded the life of a woman killed while in pursuit of her dreams.

Ghawi was among the 12 killed in the July 20 mass shooting at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado. Dozens of others were wounded.

Her service was one of four held Saturday for victims of the massacre. Matt McQuinn was remembered in Springfield, Ohio; Alex Teves was honored in Phoenix; while a private funeral was held in Illinois for John T. Larimer.

Ghawi's family created the Jessica Redfield Sports Journalism Scholarship Fund in her name to help others who dream of pursuing careers in journalism. Ghawi, 24, went by the name Jessica Redfield on-air.

Several speakers humorously recalled when Ghawi, as an intern wearing high heels, fell three times on the ice while interviewing members of the San Antonio Rampage hockey club. A video of the falls was shown at the service.

Pastor Robert Emmitt of Community Bible Church said Ghawi -- despite the pain and embarrassment -- got back up. He called her a "strong-willed child."

The victim's brother, Jordan Ghawi, referring first to the suspect in the Colorado shooting, had two messages for the audience.

"If this coward could have done this with this much hate, imagine what we can do with this much love," he said. "If you are putting your dreams on hold, you stop that right now. You chase those dreams. You don't know how long you have here."

Jessica Ghawi, who moved to the Denver area to pursue her career, narrowly avoided another shooting incident in Toronto just last month -- an incident that prompted her to reflect on life on her blog. The Toronto shooting at the Eaton Centre left one person dead and seven injured.

"I was shown how fragile life was on Saturday. I saw the terror on bystanders' faces. I saw the victims of a senseless crime. I saw lives change," she wrote at the time. "I was reminded that we don't know when or where our time on Earth will end. When or where we will breathe our last breath."

The young woman's boyfriend, minor league hockey player Jay Meloff, said, "She drank in life and celebrated the things that made us uniquely us."

In Ohio, McQuinn's family is still trying to make sense of his heroic death.

McQuinn, 27, died shielding his girlfriend, Samantha Yowler, during the shooting. She attended Saturday's memorial service, where Quinn's portrait sat near rows of flowers in the front of Maiden Lane Church of God in Springfield.

Herb Shaffer said during the service that his nephew's core goodness and selflessness came out during that midnight showing of "The Dark Knight Rises" in Aurora.

"In a moment of crisis, you don't have time to think about what you're going to do, all you have time is to react," said Shaffer, who is also a pastor. "And we saw a picture of Matt in that moment of crisis. ... His immediate response was to protect the one that he loved."

Alex Teves, 24, also died while protecting his girlfriend, Amanda Lindgren. More than a week later, his friends and family gathered in Phoenix to remember his spirit and life.