Large community turnout to honor Garland-Belfast woman killed last week.

Nearly 100 gather to celebrate the life of Lynn Marie Arsenault

Mon, 09/09/2013 - 8:00pm

Story Location:
City Park Road
Belfast, ME 04915
United States

    BELFAST — Cars lined the sides of Belfast City Park Sept. 6 as nearly 100 people gathered to celebrate the life of Lynn Marie (Day) Arsenault, 55, who was tragically killed in an Aug. 28 shooting in Belfast. Friends, family, coworkers and other participants held candles as they waited for the ceremony to begin, reminiscing about the good times shared with Lynn. “I have good days and bad days,” one man could be overheard saying.

    Many stopped to admire the smiling poster of Lynn and her husband on their wedding day, pausing to pay their respects before making their way to a table with a message board. A marker was left near the board so people could share their thoughts and memories.

    The light was just beginning to fade when a co-worker took the microphone at 7 pm. “It’s overwhelming to see such a turnout,” he told a sea of candlelit faces. “And I know Lynn is smiling down.” People wept softly as he read a poem he wrote for Arsenault, before he offered the microphone to other mourners who wanted to speak.

    A handful of people emerged from the crowd, one by one, to share their memories of a woman well-loved by her community. One of those people, Marcine Pratt, who worked with Arsenault for 14 years, remembered her as a mentor and friend, saying, “I love her with all my heart, and I know she’s my guardian angel now.”

    Another coworker told the crowd, “There are very few people you meet who touch you right away – Lynn was one of those people. You can’t make sense out of a senseless tragedy,” he said. “But you can take lessons.” The man said he’d learned from Arsenault not to take others for granted. “Lynn taught me to slow down and take time for others,” he said.

    There was a common thread in the words of those who spoke – memories of a kind woman who wanted nothing more than to help others. A woman who could be relied upon as much for her compassion as she could her fondness for chocolate, a fondness her cousin later told the group, “runs in the family.”

    Afterward, members of the crowd worked together to light paper lanterns, people talking quietly as the lanters were unfolded, lit and released into a now dark sky. “There you go Lynn,” one man said as the first lantern ascended. Another coworker, Jennifer Nittolo, sang Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah,” as a half dozen glowing orbs drifted toward the horizon.

    As the final lanterns were being set alight, Nittolo said that although she didn’t know Arsenault as well as many other attendees, she knew her as always having had “The kindest, sweetest things to say,” she said. “I hope she would have liked this.”

    Erica Thoms can be reached at