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April 17, 2012 > A somber joyful day

A somber joyful day

As mourners filed into Bay Area Baptist Church in Newark, floral displays and a handout with a picture of a smiling fellow parishioner, Katleen Ping on its cover, dispelled some of the gloom. Psalm 27:1 accompanied the photo proclaiming, "...the LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?" Through sermon, hymn and prayer, the legacy of Katleen Brans Ping who perished in the Oikos University tragedy was sad, but upbeat.

Throughout the service, presented as the Ping family desired, Pastor Jeremey Stalnecker emphasized that although painful and "a tragedy beyond explanation," such occurrences are a time to hold tightly to your faith. He told those gathered, "God has a purpose, God has a plan." Katleen's brother, Kaine Ping, spoke briefly and expressed sorrow but conviction that his sister is now at peace in heaven.

An ironic twist to the life and death of Katleen is that she was an embodiment of the American Dream, working hard to achieve economic success, spiritual enlightenment and become a US citizen. Living with her father, mother, brother and sisters, Katleen was scheduled for a naturalization interview on April 19 and looked forward to becoming a citizen, able to sponsor the immigration of her husband still living in the Philippines. She and her young son would soon be reunited with him.

While continuing her education toward a career in nursing, Katleen worked at the front desk of Oikos University. On Monday, April 2, 2012, Katleen, described as "a delightful, joyful person with a faithful life and a lovable spirit," was at work when One L. Goh entered and allegedly began a murderous rampage. She did not survive.

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