AMES, Iowa — On a dark day for the friends and family of Eden Montang, Cornerstone Church was filled with vibrant colors.
Eden was remembered in a funeral service Wednesday in Ames. Rather than have those in attendance adhere to traditional black funeral attire, her family requested that everyone wear bright colors "to honor and celebrate Eden’s love for all things bright and colorful."
Mark Vance, the lead pastor at Cornerstone Church, said that it was the most colorful funeral he'd ever been a part of.
"And it needs to be. It honors her. It’s who she was,” Vance said.
Eden was a senior studying human development and family studies at Iowa State University before she was one of two victims in a deadly shooting at Cornerstone Church on Thursday, June 2. She also served as a mortuary affairs specialist in the Iowa National Guard and worked at Massage Heights in Ames.
The service started with a slideshow showing photos of Eden with her friends and family throughout her life. Vivian Flores, Eden's friend and the other victim, appeared frequently in the photos from her college years.
Vance said that people came from across the nation as well as from overseas to attend the service.
"The distance traveled is a reflection of your love and care for her," Vance said.
Friends and family alike shared some of their favorite memories of Eden. Her aunt, Nancy Vance, said that Eden would always run and jump into her arms when they were reunited, no matter how big she'd grown.
"I love you Eden Mariah," Nancy Vance said. "And I know you jumped into the Lord’s arms and you are resting there now."
Many speakers described Eden as fun-loving, spunky, articulate, thoughtful and more. Her brother, Ethan Montang, called her the glue that will hold their family together from now on.
"I think Eden was perfectly named," said Danielle Vota, a close friend. "Because being with her made you feel closer to home."
There are memorial funds honoring both victims on the Cornerstone Church website.