The Catholic church service in Brushton, 150 miles northwest of Albany, was simulcast at the nearby high school to accommodate all the mourners because the victims had close ties to northern New York schools, the Watertown Daily Times reported ( http://bit.ly/PdBje3).
North Lawrence resident Laurie Dana, her two daughters and her mother-in-law, Janet Dana, were among six people who died in a crash in nearby Antwerp on Thursday.
The girls, 11-year-old Lauryn and 14-year-old Caitlyn, were students at St. Lawrence Central School, where their mother was a speech teacher. Janet Dana was a former teacher.
Also killed were 14-year-old student Shannon Planty, whose funeral on Wednesday will be simulcast at the school, and 59-year-old Maryann Gregory, whose husband is a former school superintendent.
The Rev. Gerry Giroux urged the standing-room-only crowd in St. Mary's Church to take solace in the power of a community joined together in shared grief.
"We look for hope in a time of confusion," Giroux said. "There is no simple answer."
State police say the investigation into the crash on rural Route 11 near the Fort Drum Army post is continuing. Investigators have determined that the tractor-trailer driver, 45-year-old James A. Mills Jr., of Myerstown, Pa., tried to brake before the impact and didn't appear to be impaired or distracted. An inspection of his cellphone showed no texts or calls immediately before the accident.