Hundreds of mourners paid homage to a Berlinville couple as they were laid in their final resting place.
Groff Funeral Home overflowed Thursday with friends, family members and acquaintances during the funeral service for Tom and Melanie Jensen.
The couple died a week ago in what investigators have called a murder-suicide. They say Tom Jensen killed his wife and then himself after a four-hour standoff with law enforcement officers at their Berlinville home.
On Thursday friends and family members talked not about that tragic night, but about what wonderful parents the two were and how much they loved their daughters.
Every seat in the funeral home was occupied and well-wishers spilled into the hallways as Rev. Chris Kardzis of Holy Angels Parish in Sandusky officiated the service.
Those close to the Jensens described the couple as remarkable parents and Melanie Jensen, 34, as a caring person and loving mother. Tom Jensen, 43, was described as a smart, hard-working man.
Their three daughters, Ciara, Marissa and Victoria, were described as beautiful and wonderful.
Visitors sang a Catholic praise, "On Eagles Wings," to close the service and then approached the side-by-side caskets for final good-byes.
About an hour later more than 80 vehicles filed into Castalia Cemetery for the burial service. Two black hearses and a white limousine led the processional.
The mood was somber as a crisp wind swept through the cemetery. The sun shone brightly on the grave plots and flowers surrounding them. Some mourners wept while others comforted one another.
The graveside service was brief and ended in prayer with friends and family members holding hands.
"She'll be sadly missed," said Chuck Hemmer, a cousin to Melanie Jensen, following the service. "She was a beautiful mother."
The Bursleys of Berlinville were among those in attendance.
"Tom and Melanie were very, very community minded," said Pam Bursley, a neighbor of 10 years. "They always helped people when they could."
Now it's time to think about what can be done to support and help the Jensen daughters, family members said.
"I know they are going through a hard time," Erick Bursley said.
Jackie Linden, Melanie Jensen's sister, issued a statement Thursday night on behalf of the Hemmer family.
"We are extremely moved and appreciative of all the outpouring of the community, all the food that was brought to us and all the support for the children and everything the community has done, they've really embraced this family. We'd also like to thank the Erie County Sheriff's Office for their professionalism...they did a tremendous job with the circumstances they had," she said.
HOW TO HELP:
Memorial contributions are being accepted for the daughters of Tom and Melanie Jensen at the following locations:
* Jensen Children Trust Fund at any KeyBank location
* Citizens Bank, 24 East Main St., Berlin Heights