Jance and Mary Paige Reynolds were remembered Saturday as a father and daughter with larger-than-life personalities who knew how to make others feel loved and cherished.
Cedar Hill Baptist Church in Cleveland Heights held a joint funeral service for the father and daughter who died earlier this month in a house fire. Jance, 62, and Mary Paige, 18, died of smoke inhalation in the fire that broke just before 4 a.m. at 3333 Daleford Road.
Siblings, cousins, teachers, co-workers and church members gathered for more than two hours for a service that inspired an equal amount of tears and laughter-filled memories for Jance, who worked at Saks Fifth Avenue at Beachwood Place Mall, and Mary Paige, who spent most of her life attending Shaker Heights Schools.
"She was so much fun and always kept of us laughing," said Sherry Beren, a Shaker Middle School teacher who used to walk around the track with Mary Paige almost every day while she was a student there.
"She loved to sing and would often sing for us. What a beautiful voice she had."
There were seven people in the home at the time of the fire: Jance and Mary Paige, who died; Jance’s wife, Yvette, two younger daughters, and a niece and nephew.
Those other daughters, Sarah Rose and Lauren Grace, read both obituaries Saturday, making sure to replace Jance's name with "Dad" every time his name came up. Jance's nephew, Josias Reynolds was joined by nieces Safiya and Jomaya Reynolds to perform an original song dedicated to their deceased family members. Two of the trio were among those who made it out of the fire alive. The lyrics to their song, "Broken Glass," appreciate Jance's attempt to save Mary Paige from the flames.
"Many ways to say, 'farewell,' but I did not get the chance, and I'll never forget that morning," were among the heartfelt lyrics sang by the Reynolds family.
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Other musical performances included an inspiration rendition of "Soon Ah Will Be Done," by Jance's brother, Keith. The crowd also watched a video comprised of interviews with several Cedar Hill youth group members who viewed Jance as a mentor, brother, uncle, father, best friend and the type "you could tell secrets you couldn't tell your parents because you knew they would yell at you," one member recalled.
Jance was born in Chicago, but also spent time in California before moving to Northeast Ohio. College roommates, friends and the couple whose wedding Jance and Yvette met at rounded out the speakers.
The affection for Jance's fashion sense and Mary Paige's humor were inescapable Saturday.
"He was always dressed cleaner than the Board of Health," Jance's cousin, Anthony Clark, joked.
Meanwhile, Beren and Mary Bourisseau, who taught Mary Paige at Onaway Elementary School, remember her making up songs about her family and doing now-famous impersonations of all of her teachers.
"We were a little shocked because she really sounded like us," Beren said to a crowd of laughter.
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