Funeral For Wash U Runner Draws Hundreds
By the start of the funeral for Gabrielle Reuveni, the Robert Schoem Menorah Chapel was almost full to capacity as many waited to pay their respects.
Beautiful, intelligent, caring, and perfect were just some of the adjectives used to describe Gabrielle "Gabby" Reuveni by family and friends during her funeral Tuesday.
The Washington University student, who was valedictorian of Paramus High School's Class of 2010, died Saturday when she was struck by a pickup truck while jogging in the Poconos.
Reuveni was a runner at Wash U, heading into her junior year.
As family, friends, dignitaries and neighbors lined up outside the Robert Schoem Menorah Chapel on Route 4 in Paramus, emotions ranged from celebratory to sadness for the loss of the 20-year-old, who according to a chapel staff member, drew a crowd only matched by services following 9/11.
"We expected her to change the world, but she had a higher calling," said Mayor Richard LaBarbiera. LaBarbiera said he knows the family well after coaching Reuveni's younger brother in baseball. "In her short time she definitely left this place a better place."
Richa Shah was one of many Paramus High School graduates from the class of 2010 who also came to pay their respects.
"She was one of my closest friends. We've known each other since middle school, we went to high school together, and I talked to her the day before she passed away," said Richa Shah. "She was the most beautiful, caring person I knew."
Another friend of Reuveni, with the same name, said she had just attended a July 4 barbeque the week before at Reuveni's home.
"She was perfect," said Richa Shah. "We hung out all of the time, played basketball together, and we were best friends in kindergarten."
Mike Mordaga also graduated in the same class as Reuveni and said the 2010 valedictorian was always in a good mood, and very smart.
"People looked up to her, and you can't say anything negative about her," said Mordaga, who was accompanied by his brother, Anthony Mordaga.
Elizabeth Shahar, one of Shahar neighbors from the Poconos, who made the trip from Pennsylvania, said "Gabby" was the perfect hostess, and always knew what the guests liked and tended to their needs.
"They bought their house because we bought our house on the lake," said Shahar, whose daughter, Jennifer, also grew up with Reuveni. "We spent many holidays together. I've seen her growing since she was a baby."
Several associates of Michael and Jacqueline Reuveni, Gabrielle Reuveni's parents, also attended including Marina Boukia, a business colleague of Michael who described Reuveni as very special.
And several members of the Hillel’s Angels, a Jewish, charitable motorcycle organization, of which Michael Reuveni was president, traveled from New York City and South Jersey to pay their respects.
"She's the best of both parents," said Larry Edelman, who has ridden to and stayed at their Poconos home. "They're great people and to have the best of both of your parents in one - she was just phenomenal."