Lives of Thooft children remembered during funeral service

WABASSO – Family and community members came together in Wabasso on Friday, to mourn the victims of a fatal house fire in rural Lucan. While the loss of Hazel Thooft, 7, and Isaiah Thooft, 4, was tragic, the Rev. Todd Petersen said, sharing community support could help make the pain easier to bear.

“We grieve with you. We grieve for you,” Petersen told members of the Thooft family during the funeral service Friday. “You do not carry this burden alone.”

Funeral services for Hazel and Isaiah Thooft were held Friday morning at St. Anne’s Catholic Church in Wabasso. Hazel and Isaiah Thooft died Dec. 4, in a fire that destroyed their family’s home in rural Lucan. They are survived by their parents, Matt and Bernadette Thooft, and five siblings.

Pews at St. Anne’s were full of family and area community members, but the congregation was relatively quiet and somber. Kids and families had a definite presence at the services. Hazel Thooft was in second grade at St. Anne’s Catholic School in Wabasso, while Isaiah Thooft went to preschool at Wabasso Public School.

The grief felt at the loss of two children was hard to put into words, Petersen said in his homily.

“Words cannot begin to express it,” Petersen said. “I almost don’t know what to say.”

But the remembrances of Hazel and Isaiah shared at the service were happy ones. Collages of photos and artwork were set up near the church doors. Petersen spoke of Isaiah’s smile – “The ‘cat that swallowed the canary’ look, I’d call it,” he said. The congregation sang “Soon and Very Soon,” which Petersen said was one of Hazel’s favorite hymns.

Prayers were offered for the Thooft family and for the firefighters who came to help them last week, especially Neal Hansen. Hansen, a firefighter with the Vesta Fire Department, was injured by a tanker truck at the scene of the fire.

The cause of last week’s fire is still under investigation by the Minnesota State Fire Marshal Division.