Hundreds of mourners filled a Leawood church to celebrate the lives of a promising teen performer and his adoring grandfather gunned down at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Kansas City.
Reat Underwood, 14, and his 69-year-old grandfather, William Lewis Corporon, died last Sunday. They had just arrived at the facility where Reat was auditioning in a singing competition. A white supremacist is accused of killing Reat, Corporon and a third person at the nearby Village Shalom assisted-living center.
Reat's father and brother shared personal stories and struggled to contain their emotions.
Some of the service's biggest laughs and most emotional moments came when Lukas Losen walked up to the podium.
"The lives of two of my family members were taken on Sunday," Lukas said about his losing his grandfather and his brother.
He spoke of their caring and fun spirits. Lukas shared a recent memory of turkey hunting with his grandfather.
A gifted singer and actor, Reat was an honor student and lettered in debate.
"He was going to be a singing doctor and make a bunch of money," Lukas said.
Reat drew accolades when he sang the National Anthem before a major educational meeting in the district. The Royals plan to play Reat's singing at an upcoming game when his family can attend.
A star extinguished too soon on Earth, but his family says he now shines down on them from heaven.
Corporon was a longtime doctor who moved to the Kansas City area to be closer to his grandchildren. He eagerly agreed to take Reat to the singing competition.
The two attended United Methodist Church of the Resurrection in Leawood where Friday's service was held.
"I cannot express my feelings for what is going on right now," Lukas said.
He then grew emotional.
"I love each and everyone who is here today but especially my family and God. I love you Reat and Papa and Reat. You will always be in my heart," he said before taking his seat.
Will Corporon, who lost his father and nephew, spoke of the family's unbearable loss from the "senseless violence," and celebrated special memories of his father. He said the family draws comfort knowing the two are now in heaven hunting together.
"We ache and we cry and we scream, but we also smile and we laugh and we hug," he said. "As a family we know we are who we are because of my father. He was the patriarch. He was our leader."
His brother, Tony, spoke of how much his father loved being with his grandchildren.
"The love will be ever stronger and the memories will last forever," he said.
Mindy Corporon spoke of the last kiss and hug with her son.
Donations can be made to the Blue Valley Education Foundation, the Church of the Resurrection KiDS COR, Boy Scouts of America and Operation Breakthrough.
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