Services will be held Thursday to honor the memory of Katonah native Ann Marie Murphy, a special education teacher who died protecting her students in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.
Murphy's body was found covering her school children after gunman Adam Lanza killed 26 people including six adults and 20 children, a first responder in Connecticut told her family, Newsday reported on Saturday.
Murphy was the daughter of Hugh and Alice McGowan of Katonah, one of seven children raised here. She was also the mother of her own four children. Her father described her to a reporter as an "artistic, fun-loving painter," who was "witty" and "hardworking."
Katonah residents gathered Saturday night to remember all of the victims, as news of Murphy's death was starting to spread. Many knew of the family—Hugh McGowan and Thomas McGowan, Anne Marie Murphy's brother, are dentists in town—and those that didn't, prayed for her.
"I didn't know her, but this town—like Newtown—is a small community," said Gigi Zeller Saturday night.
Bedford Police Sgt. Matt Dunn grew up in Katonah and attended St. Mary's elementary school with Murphy.
"I remember Anne as the prettiest, sweetest girl in my grade school class. We took communtion and confirmation together. I still have my fouth grade class picture and Anne stood out even then," he said, describing the McGowan's as a family that everyone knew and regarded well.
Visiting hours will be 4 to 8 p.m. Wednesday at the Clark Associates Funeral Home in Katonah. A funeral mass will be held Thursday at 10 a.m. at St. Mary of the Assumption in Katonah.