The preacher's voice was just picking up speed when he found the eyes he was looking for in the front seats of a church on West Market Street.
"Your mother was a hero to this community," the Rev. Danny Evans said to Vincent, Ervine and Robert.
Then, Evans turned his attention to the pews packed wall-to-wall with people, the police officers standing behind the last row and the all-star team of local Christian pastors sitting off to the side.
Not everyone knew Miss Joanne on a Sunday morning, Evans said. So, he'd state it plainly.
"Joanne Borders was a worshipper," he said, his voice gaining energy.
As those five words left Evans' lips, a few hundred people rose to their feet. Women put their hands in the air, bowed
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An organ played in the background, while Evans prayed in an intense voice.
"I pray God now that you would touch this family. Strengthen them," Evans said. "Lift this service and make it a celebration, for your child is coming home."
For two hours Monday, friends and family of Joanne Borders took turns sharing memories of a woman who'd dedicated her life to community service. The York City councilwoman died last week at the age of 67 after a long battle with cancer.
The Rev. Oscar Rossum, Sr., a friend of Borders who'd met her through service on a charter-school board, said her dedication amazed him. She'd endure chemotherapy, then beat all of her fellow board members to a meeting afterward.
"She was sick the entire time," Rossum said. "Yet, she was so full of energy. She was full of dutifulness."
Vincent Clayton, Borders' oldest son, said his mother lived by a code. She nurtured her relationship with God first, her family second, her community third and herself last, Clayton said.
"If you do those things in order," his mother would say. "You don't have to worry about yourself."
The Rev. Anthony Sease said Borders epitomized what it means to be a public servant.
"She was always at the business of helping someone else," he said. "What a successful example of a life well lived."
In a tribute to Borders, York City Mayor Kim Bracey spoke of a woman driven by principle, unafraid of confrontation. She'd demand answers from corrupt landlords and chase down drug dealers to ask them, "Where do you see yourself in 10 years?"
Borders believed that the right to quality education was the most important civil-rights issue in York County, Bracey said.
"She did not pretend to have all the answers," Bracey said. "Instead, she worked to find answers."
Borders was a "champion of the city of York, said the Rev. Ruth Harvey, a friend who delivered the eulogy.
"She saw a city that could become the jewel of the county," Harvey said. "Miss Joanne was forever planning the next big thing for York."- Erin James may also be reached at email@example.com.