For the third time in 24 hours, a grieving family is saying their final goodbye to a loved one taken far too soon.
Jennifer Markovsky never made it to her 36th birthday, her husband Paul said in a statement Saturday. She was gunned down at a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood on Black Friday while accompanying a friend to an appointment.
"In the last days of her life, Jennifer gave me a great 36th birthday party, with a homemade Russian napoleon cake," Paul Markovsky said. "However, Jennifer did not make it to her 36th birthday one month later."
A funeral for Markovsky, one of the three killed in the Nov. 27 shooting, was held Saturday morning at Holy Theophany Orthodox Church. Her family requested that media not attend the service.
Markovsky was the mother of two children, 11-year-old Allen and 5-year-old Milla, and was a loving wife and mother, her family said. She hailed from Hawaii, but had made her home in Colorado Springs for the last seven years. Like so many others in the Springs community, she is married to a service member, who has deployed twice.
"She...had a truly heartfelt compassion for helping others, and Friday [Nov. 27] was no exception. In order to provide support, Jennifer accompanied a friend to her appointment at Planned Parenthood, where a gunman opened fire," said Markovsky's godfather, Davi Wingate. Wingate read a statement prior to the funeral on behalf of the family.
"She is greatly missed by those she left behind," he finished.
Wingate said he and his wife would be supporting the family in the weeks and months ahead "any way we can."
"She...endured a painful dental implant procedure that prevented her from enjoying Thanksgiving," her husband Paul wrote in a separate statement. "She still made our Thanksgiving as wonderful as it could be, with a delicious turkey, pineapple ham, custard pie and pumpkin pecan pie. ... She used to joke that she would die before me, but I could never imagine losing her so soon," Paul Markovsky said in a separate statement.
"What we have to learn from Jennifer is to not hold back, live life to the fullest, to cherish and take care of our families, and not be afraid to love."
Markovsky is the final Planned Parenthood shooting victim to be laid to rest. Officer Garrett Swasey and Iraq veteran Ke'arre Stewart were both buried Friday. Stewart was buried in his hometown of Waco, Texas.
Those in the Springs wishing to pay their respects to Stewart were given the opportunity Thursday night. Friends and family were joined by military veterans, police officers from UCCS and Colorado Springs, and countless others from the community who wanted to show the family support.
A video of Stewart playing and cuddling with his two daughters played during the four-hour visitation. Family and friends said they were still in disbelief that he was really gone.
"I was crushed, it was unreal. Almost half a million people here and it happened to be my brother out of all these people," Stewart's brother told 11 News. Leyonte Chandler drove from hospital to hospital through the icy conditions that night hoping in vain to find his brother.
The family said Stewart was outside Planned Parenthood using his phone when he was attacked. His sister told 11 News gravely wounded, Stewart still managed to get inside and warn staff and patients, and called 911 before he died.
His mother Sharon Lloyd told our partners at The Gazette that Stewart told her once that he'd "rather go die doing something with my life than die doing nothing."