KATONAH, N.Y. Hundreds of mourners on Wednesday flocked to a wake in suburban Katonah, N.Y. for one of the teachers killed in the Newtown, Conn., school shooting.
The mourners waited in a slow-moving line, some for more than an hour, in the frigid air outside The Clark Associates funeral home, to pay respects to Anne Marie Murphy, 52.
Murphy was among the 26 people killed Friday at Sandy Hook Elementary in one of the nation's worst mass shootings. Adam Lanza, armed with a military-style assault rifle, broke into the school and opened fire on the classrooms. Lanza also killed his mother at her home before committing suicide.
Murphy's father, Hugh McGowan, said earlier this week that authorities told him she had tried to protect her young pupils. Her body was found covering a group of children's bodies as if to shield them, McGowan said.
The parents of one of her students, 6-year-old Dylan Hockley, issued a statement saying she was his favorite teacher and they took comfort in knowing that Murphy was cradling Dylan when he died.
Murphy is survived by her husband, her four children, her parents and her six brothers and sisters.
Taylor McGowan, a nephew of Murphy's, commented on the large turnout outside the white, clapboard funeral home sparely decorated with Christmas wreaths and red ribbon.
"If you knew her, you wouldn't be surprised," said the nephew, adding that the line was moving slowly because "our family is taking time with everyone."
"It shows how much Anne Marie was loved and how much her parents were loved." chimed Sister M. Kenneth, who said she taught Murphy and some of her siblings at St. Mary's Elementary School in Katonah.
Rev. Bill Holt, pastor of Holy Innocence Parish in Pleasantville, said "everyone is overwhelmed."
"This town truly loves this family," said Holt, adding that the mood inside the funeral parlor was "not weepy, but rather subdued."
Holt said Murphy had bought Christmas gifts for all her children. He said her children found the presents inside their home. At the wake, he said there were Christmas stockings on the closed coffin.
Murphy's funeral will be held Thursday morning at St. Mary of the Assumption Church. Burial will follow at St. Joseph's Cemetery in Somers.Copyright 2012 Associated Press