A standing-room-only crowd filled the Burnt Hills United Methodist Church Thursday to say goodbye to the 11-year-old boy who was killed trying to prevent his family’s van from rolling into a busy roadway.
The memorial service for Lane Rowe was attended by more than 300 people, some of them forced to stand outside the church’s front door.
“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends,” said Pastor Holly Nye, reading John 15: 1-13 of the New Testament.
“We are here to celebrate the life of Lane Rowe,” Nye said. She said the church welcomed the large crowd, which included many parents and students from the Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake Central School District.
Lane, a sixth-grader at O’Rourke Middle School, was trying to keep the family’s Dodge Caravan from rolling down his driveway into Blue Barns Road on Monday afternoon. The driverless van contained hiss sister and two younger brothers. State police said the boy slipped and the van rolled over him.
The children’s mother, Jennifer Abraham, was inside the home at 190 Blue Barns Road preparing to drive Lane to his annual physical exam, according to family members.
Robert Van Vranken of Burnt Hills, a friend of the family, said the incident Monday afternoon was “unexpected, shocking, accidental and incredibly sad.”
Lane was “an energetic, life-loving young boy,” Van Vranken said. “Lane’s love of music, singing, and dancing brought life to your darkest day.
“Lane was a special boy, high energy, with a terrific sense of humor,” he added.
Van Vranken urged those at the memorial service to cherish their memories of Lane and pass them on.
“Share your stories about Lane, send them to the family,” he said. “He was a living example of the greatest human virtue. He gave up his life for his friends: his brothers and sister.”
“Lane was a lover of the world, a lover of people,” he said.
During the service, Pamela S. West-Finkle, the boy’s aunt and a music teacher in Delaware County, performed “When I Look Into Your Eyes.”
Lane’s brown casket, which was covered by a large red, white and green floral arrangement, was located in the front of the church.
Lynn Bradley, Lane’s grandfather, said Lane loved to spend summers at his home in the Catskills and swim in his pool.
“He was just a great kid to be around,” Bradley said.
He thanked the Burnt Hills-town of Ballston community for their kindness to his family this week. The retired state trooper said the community support left him “in awe.”
He said he drove north from Delaware County on Tuesday morning and was helped immediately by Van Vranken and his wife. He said Van Vranken was a “messenger from God” who helped with planning the details of the memorial service.
Bradley also thanked the emergency responders at the accident scene, who tried very hard to save the boy’s life.
The hearse was escorted to the small Hillside Cemetery off Kingsley Road by the Burnt Hills Fire Department’s aerial ladder truck and firefighters wearing their dress uniforms.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Lane Rowe Memorial Fund at any branch of Ballston Spa National Bank or mailed to: Ballston Spa National Bank, P.O. Box 70, Ballston Spa, NY 12020.