Friends mourn mom, daughter killed in pipeline explosion next to home in San Francisco suburb

Friday, September 17, 2010

Mother, daughter killed in Calif. blast remembered

SAN FRANCISCO — Hundreds of mourners plan to gather Friday to remember a mother and daughter killed when a gas pipeline exploded a few yards from their home near San Francisco.

A funeral mass for Jacqueline Greig, 44, a longtime California Public Utilities Commission analyst, and her 13-year-old daughter, Janessa, is being held in San Francisco.

On Thursday evening, the Greig’s friends, relatives and neighbors packed the pews and halls of St. Cecilia church to pray together and remember.

Many at the vigil knew the Greigs — both described as active members of their community and their church, who made and kept friends easily and lived a life that was an example to those they met.

“She had integrity, poise. She wanted to set a good example, and that is what she did,” said Monica Medina-Campos, one of four lifelong friends of Jacqueline Greig who spoke Thursday.

The five women met during their freshman year in high school, Medina-Campos said, and their lives grew entwined over the years, as they graduated together, attended the same college, were part of each other’s weddings and the births of their children.

Janessa Greig took after her mother, said those who knew them. At 13, she was class president. She was remembered for being the kind of girl who would be the first to say hello to a newcomer.

“She was the only person you can say everyone liked,” said Daniela Zarich, 14, a classmate at St. Cecilia School who knew Janessa Greig since they were in kindergarten.

“She was always friendly, smiling. That’s how I always think of her,” said Jazmin Gonzalez, 12, who took Ballet Folklorico classes with her.

In a confirmation speech played after the congregation said the rosary, Janessa Greig comes across as a thoughtful, well-spoken teen who relied on her faith.

“In today’s society there is so much wrong and so much evil, but our faith strengthens us,” she said.

The pipeline blew up just behind Greig’s home, obliterating it and nearly 40 others in the hilly neighborhood of 1960s-era homes overlooking San Francisco Bay. Two other women — Jessica Morales, 20, and Elizabeth Torres, 81, also died in the explosion. Morales’ boyfriend, as well as two of Torres’ daughters and a son-in-law were seriously hurt and remain hospitalized.

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