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Hannibal Courier - Post - Hannibal, MO
  • Memorial lanterns float down Mississippi

  • The nearly 300 decorated memorial lanterns that were launched in the Mississippi River on Saturday, May 17, at the James O’Donnell Funeral Home’s fifth annual Memorial Lantern Float honored both recently-deceased family members and some who had passed away in previous years.
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  • The nearly 300 decorated memorial lanterns that were launched in the Mississippi River on Saturday, May 17, at the James O’Donnell Funeral Home’s fifth annual Memorial Lantern Float honored both recently-deceased family members and some who had passed away in previous years.
    As they gathered in Nipper Park on the riverfront, several people were taking pictures of the lanterns they decorated before turning them over to the O’Donnell staff to be launched in the river. Among this group was Bobbi Allen, whose lantern was in memory of her Uncle Tad Allen.
    One lantern honored Ruth Duccini, who had gained fame in 1939 as a villager munchkin in the “Wizard of Oz” movie. She was the last surviving female munchkin when she died Jan. 16, 2014, in Las Vegas.
    Her lantern was dedicated to “great-granny” by Jared Duccini, 6, who recently moved to Hannibal with his mother, Stacy Duccini.
    They were with Stacy’s mother (the actress’ daughter) and stepfather, Cara and Stan Foster, who are part-time Hannibal residents. Cara explained they own the building at Main and Broadway occupied by the Hannibal Area Chamber of Commerce, and they live on the third floor when in Hannibal.
    Family groups honoring the same person included sisters Martha Radfering and Debbie Van Hoose, honoring their parents, the late Owen Ransdell and Linda Lamont.
    While the families were being seated for the ceremonies, Marjorie Miller and her daughter, Deanna Cole, explained they were honoring Elbert Miller, Marjorie’s husband and Deanna’s dad. Majorie may have been one of the warmest people present in the unseasonably cool weather, because she had a blanket over her knees.
    The program included an American Legion Color Guard composed of Tom Givan, the Rev. William “Red” Haffner and Howard Lyle Todd. Another Legionnaire, the Rev. Ronn Pashia, played “Taps” on his bugle.
    After musician Seth Wade sang “Fire and Rain,” the Rev. Tim Goodman began his message by noting that this song was written by James Taylor in memory of someone in his life who had died.
    Goodman said memories are “wonderful ways to help us remember the people in our life.” Another thing to remember is “the unconditional love we shared with them,” Goodman said, along with their “selfless sacrifice.”
    Friendship is another way to remember someone, he said, recalling his friendship with the late Sid Brownell. “He was a great friend” who “offered wisdom and a sense of humor.”
    Goodman advised the people to treasure special memories of their loved ones.
    Wade later played “I’ll Fly Away” before the families moved closer to the river to watch their lanterns float down the river.
    Page 2 of 2 - For more pictures, see “seen on scene” photo gallery on hannibal.net.

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