Four caskets sat in a row at the front of Fort Lauderdale Baptist Church: mother, daughter, stepsister and nephew.
The four family members who died last week after their car plunged into a Deerfield Beach lake were eulogized together at a four-hour funeral service Saturday in front of more than 1,000 family members, friends and classmates.
“They are not dead. They are living in the eternal life,” Yolette Fabre, a pastor at Christian Life Restoration Center, where the family attended church. “Let us stand strong, firm together.”
Remembered Saturday were Nadege Theodore, 37, her daughter Lyne Theodore, 15; step sister Standalie Jean-Baptiste, 20; and nephew Guivens Daverman, 16.
The family had been heading home from a shopping trip at Town Center at Boca Raton Mall the night of Jan. 2 when the Lexus sports utility vehicle they were riding in was involved in a three car crash. The silver SUV careened off the side of Interstate 95 and ended up in a lake. The others involved in the accident were not injured.
Daverman, Nadege Theodore and Jean-Baptiste were pulled out immediately. Lyne Theodore’s body was not pulled out until the following morning, after police notifying next of kin learned she had been in the vehicle as well. Nadege Theodore and Daverman were pronounced dead at the hospital. Jean-Baptiste died Jan. 6.
The funeral service — which was mostly in Haitian Creole and French — was a way to remember the four family members, but many hoped it would also serve as lesson to all of the young people who attended.
“I ask the friends of those individuals that they carry out their dreams,” said Karlton O. Johnson, the principal of Blanche Ely High School, where both Lyne Theodore and Daverman were sophomores.
Johnson remembered Lyne as a great student and Daverman, he said, “was the life of the party.”
Many of those in attendance were friends, classmates, teacher and faculty from the Pompano Beach high school. Many donned the school’s orange and green colors.
Throughout the emotional ceremony, the prayers on stage were often drowned out by sobbing and wailing from mourners.
There were three white steel caskets adorned with pink and white flower bouquets for the three females. Daverman was laid to rest in a black casket.
Pictures of each of them sat next to their casket.
Throughout the service, a slide show flashed on a large screen, telling the story of their lives through pictures:
Nadege as an adult with a red flower in her and a red dress, and one of her with her daughter. Lyne Theodore in a pink tank top and jeans, posing for the camera. Guivens posing with the number four on his fourth birthday, and later as a teenager sporting a black baseball cap with “Jesus” embroidered on it. Standalie as a child making a sassy pose, and later grown up wearing a business suit.
Nadege Theodore was born in 1975 in Cap-Haitien, Haiti. In 1999, she moved to South Florida with her daughter. She worked as a nurse’s assistant and had an 8-year-old son named Deemily Charles.
At 15, Lyne Theodore was the youngest in the car. She was born in Cap-Haitian, Haiti, in 1997. She was in the medical magnet program in her high school and wanted to become a nurse.
Jean-Baptiste was born in 1992 in l’Artibonite, Haiti. She came to South Florida in 2005. She attended Lyons Middle School in Coconut Creek and then Deerfield Beach Highand graduated from Broward College in 2012. She dreamed of becoming an anthropologist.
Guivens Daverman was born in1996 in Fort Lauderdale, the son of Theodore’s sister Myrlande Theodore. He was known as Papi, and loved to help others. He was on the football team and ran track.
A composed 10-year-old Princeley Dorvil took the podium to talk about his brother Guivens Daverman and his other family members.
“My brother was a very cool brother, he taught me a lot of things in life,” said Princeley, fighting back tears. “He taught me how to respect others. He taught me how to use my manners. He taught me how to be well-dressed.”
Daverman’s coach at Blanche Ely gave the family the boy’s football jersey and a team photo.
Before the final prayer, teammates of Daverman donned white gloves and blue ribbons with Daverman’s picture and a poem, and helped remove all the flower bouquets as condolences were read aloud.
When the ceremony was over, the pall bearers carried each of the four caskets into the hearses as family and friends gathered around.
A cousin of Daverman, sobbing and in tears, put his hands on the outside of the black hearse as it slowly drove away.
The four family members were laid to rest at Forest Lawn North Memorial Gardens.