Saying goodbye to innocent victim

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By Sean Fitz-Gerald

Hundreds of people said goodbye to the young woman who was tragically killed at Dundas subway station last week.

The forecast Tuesday morning called for rain, but the clouds parted and the sun shone on St. Maximilian Church for Charlene Minkowski’s funeral service.

“In a world which can be so ugly, she sustained beauty,” one main said in Minkowski’s eulogy.

The huge Mississauga church was full of family and friends saying goodbye to the 23-year-old woman.

“We know that all of Canada now knows of this tragedy, all people pray for Charlene and her family today,” said Rev. Adam Filas, who spoke into a microphone for the packed church to hear.

Many of Minkowski’s young friends were in the church, clutching single red roses and dabbing their eyes throughout the service that was conducted mainly in Polish.

Last Friday, Minkowski was standing on the southbound platform at the Dundas station, near Ryerson, when she was pushed in front of an oncoming train by a stranger. She died later.

Police arrested Herbert Cheong, 41, a paranoid schizophrenic and a recovering crack addict, in connection with the death and have since charged him with first-degree murder.

Fighting back tears, Filas said Minkowski was a giving, thoughtful person who was involved in helping sick children and people with  AIDS.

“In a very short time, she has done so much,” he said, “it would take all of us many years to do the same.”

“We all have to think about our own lives,” Filas said. “We do not know the time when Jesus will come down to take us back. You have to be ready to meet him.”

After the service, Minkowski’s white-draped coffin was led out of the sun-soaked church parking lot by a special police honor guard and taken to her final resting place.

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