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Hundreds file through to pay respects to couple killed in limo crash

Hundreds file through to pay respects to couple killed in limo crash

While calling hours were scheduled to end at 6 p.m., people were still waiting in line to express their sympathies to the families
Hundreds file through to pay respects to couple killed in limo crash
People wait in a long line to pay their respects to the family of Erin and Shane McGowan at St. Mary's Church on Sunday.
Photographer: Marc Schultz

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Thousands of people have gathered in the city of Amsterdam and other municipalities around the region to honor the lives of the 20 people killed in a limousine crash in the town of Schoharie just over a week ago.

Hundreds of mourners lined up under a bright blue sky Sunday on the sidewalk outside St. Mary's Roman Catholic Church on East Main Street in Amsterdam to pay their respects to the families of Erin and Shane McGowan, a recently married couple who lost their lives in the crash.

Erin, 34, married Shane, 30, in June. She most recently worked for St. Mary’s Pediatrics in Amsterdam and the Family Counseling Center in Gloversville. Shane, according to his obituary, was employed as a hearing specialist at Miracle Ear.

Calling hours for the McGowans were from 2 to 6 p.m., and people were lining up well before the start. Peter Rose, of Betz, Rossi, Bellinger & Stewart Family Funeral Homes, said he expected the calling hours to stretch past the allotted time, due to the large number of people who wished to speak to the family.

When calling hours were scheduled to close at 6 p.m., people were still waiting in line to express their sympathies to the families.

At times, the line curved down the street, around the block and up a hill, as small groups slowly made their way into the church.

Though mourners leaving the building did not wish to speak with reporters, many sobbed and supported each other as they returned to their vehicles.

Some people, including one woman overheard as she was leaving the church, didn't even know Erin or Shane personally, but were friends with family members of the couple.

Sunday's wake for the McGowans was just one of many held over the weekend for victims of the crash.

On Saturday, hundreds of mourners packed St. Stanislaus Roman Catholic Church in Amsterdam for a funeral Mass for Adam Jackson, Abigail M. Jackson, Allison A. King, Richard Steenburg Jr., Axel J. Steenburg, Amy L. Steenburg, Robert Joseph Dyson and Mary E. Dyson. The eight were four sisters, three husbands and a brother-in-law. Calling hours were held the previous day..

The funeral service for Matthew William Coons, another crash victim, was also held Saturday at the Fonda-Fultonville Central School District.

Calling hours for Rachael Cavosie at the Philip J. Brendese Funeral Home in Waterford were also held Sunday. 

Her memorial Mass will be held at St. Mary of the Assumption Church in Waterford, with burial at St. Agnes Cemetery in Cohoes, on Monday. 

A viewing for Michael Ukaj will be held at AG Cole Funeral Home in Johnstown on Tuesday. His memorial service will be conducted at the funeral home at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, followed by his burial service at the Gerald B.H. Solomon Saratoga National Cemetery in Schuylerville at 2 p.m.

Additional services are scheduled for this week.

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