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Victoria Soto's Sister: 'The Pain is Unbelievable'

Family and friends remember and say goodbye to fallen hero teacher at funeral service.

She had a contagious smile and a wonderful laugh.

Christmastime was "her time of year" and picking out the tree was her job. As the "head cousin," younger siblings and cousins looked up to her as a role model.

Victoria "Vicki" Soto, the Newtown teacher who sacrificed her life to save those of her adoring first-grade students, was laid to rest Wednesday.

Hundreds gathered for a funeral service at Lordship Community Church to share fond memories and say goodbye to the woman who's being proclaimed a national heroine for her selfless acts during last week's school shooting massacre.

"You are in so many people's hearts," said Soto's sister, Jillian. "For the 19 children you protected you were an angel [and] you've been my hero my entire life. I'm so proud of you and all you did in your 27 years. Your pain in the butt sister, Jillian."

Soto was the oldest of four siblings. Carlee Soto said she became a college student because of her big sister, and now that she's passed there's no one to proofread her essays or pick her outfits.

"My best friend is gone and I am so lost without her," she said. "The pain is unbelievable but I know I can get through this [because I knew Vicki]. I am proud to say I'm Victoria Soto's little sister."

Cousins, an aunt and a college roommate said Soto was an energetic, funny, fearless, sarcastic and inspirational person who loved being together with her large family, especially around Christmas.

"Vicki was a ball of energy with an incredible personality," said the college roommate, Rachel, who roomed with Soto at Eastern Connecticut State University. Rachel said Soto loved chicken parm and always slept with her teddy bear. She was goofy in a good way, she said. "If you were friends with Vicki, she probably had a nickname for you."

"There was never a dull moment with Vicki," said a cousin. "You could never be found without a smile on your face. Vicki may have been my cousin by blood but she was my best friend by choice."

"She truly made you feel loved every day," said another cousin.

Rev. Meg Boxwell Williams led the service and told Soto's parents that they raised an incredible woman and that life is not weighed by years, but by the impact of that life and the richness of relations.

By that rationale, many won't get to what Soto achieved if they live to be 100, she said, calling the teacher's courage "Christ-like."

Barbara Olszewski December 19, 2012 at 10:03 PM
I don't know you or your beloved "Vicki", but I do know this; Jesus said, "greater love has no man (no one) than this, than to lay down his life for his friends. Wow! What a daughter, sister, cousin, friend you all had. And "had" is only temporary. Your lose will one day have the biggest reunion of joy imaginable; and Vicki will receive the crown of righteousness and rewards where it counts the most. Look to Jesus the author and finisher of your faith as you go through grief and pain of separation and seek His comfort. Many are praying for you. God Bless you far above all you could ask or think. He is with you.
Steve Ward December 19, 2012 at 10:30 PM
My sister is gone many years, and not a day has passed that I have not thought of her. Often people get to hear what she did for me. Yes, the pain is unbelievable. Vicki lives in heaven now, and you/we will keep her alive all the days of our lives, until God brings us back together again. Love and prayers.
Russell December 20, 2012 at 04:26 AM
I am really sorry for every-ones loss. I am glad to see this bring Stratford together and support the families of Vicki Soto. Being a former teacher myself don't think I would have been so brave as her. My thoughts and prayers go these families!
Ann Hedonia December 21, 2012 at 11:15 PM
What a truly amazing young woman! Words fail.
charlie December 22, 2012 at 07:53 PM
There is no greater love than to lay down one's life for one's friends. John 15:13 New Living Translation

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