Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Chris North laid to rest

SARASOTA - A crowd estimated at more than 500 this afternoon packed Concordia Lutheran Church for the funeral of U.S. Army Spc. Christopher M. North, killed in Iraq last week.

Perhaps indicative of the diverse spectrum of lives touched by the 2003 Lakewood Ranch High School graduate, there were mourners from Manatee County Sheriff Brad Steube, who wore his military dress greens, to many young women in elegant black dresses.

Shortly before 2 p.m., Christopher's father, Mark D. North, himself about as tall as his 6-foot-2, blond and blue-eyed son, led the family down the middle aisle to their seats.

Concordia was North's home church, and the opening hymn, "What a Friend We Have in Jesus," was sung because it was one of North's favorites, said The Rev. Jim Roseman, the worship leader.

The Rev. Stephen Gaulke, the church's senior pastor, began his message with voice quivering.

"It's wrong," Gaulke said. "How dare death lay a bony finger on such a gallant man, such an exuberant warrior. It's wrong."

Gaulke told a story of seeing North in the back of the church one day, shortly before North was to be deployed.

"'Chris, I told him,' " Gaulke said. "You know I'll be praying for you.' He told me, 'Yes sir, please do.' And then I said, 'Do good. Make a difference over there.' "

The service took about 45 minutes.

From the Bradenton Herald

Related Link:
Christopher M. North dies from 'wounds suffered when his unit came in contact with enemy forces using an improvised explosive device and small arms'