Silence passed over a crowd of students and community members Friday as a coffin was wheeled to the front of the large chapel at the Washington Heights Church in South Ogden.
The gentle hum of Christian rock and soft conversation faded into the background as those gathered stood in reverence. The coffin, now at the front of the chapel, housed the body of Cynthia “Cindy” Elaine Candland.
A mother, daughter, sister, friend, nurse and assistant professor of nursing at WSU, Candland was killed Sept. 12 by her estranged husband R. David Candland in what police are calling a murder-suicide.
Her funeral service was held Friday at 1:30 p.m., welcoming a few hundred family, friends, students and colleagues to remember Candland.
Pastor Roy Gruber began the service with a prayer. Then, the gentle twang of a guitar filled the spacious chapel in a simple rendition of “Amazing Grace.”
Candland was a student of nursing at WSU and graduated in 2009. Then, as she worked in her field, she also joined the faculty in the nursing program at Weber State to pass on her knowledge to the next generation of nurses.
“She was always so happy and loving,” said Stephanie Candland in her eulogy of her mother. “That’s how I’ll remember her.”
Stephanie added that she will make sure her children will remember her mother.
All who spoke noted Candland’s kindness and love for life.
“She was always giving others a listening ear and a shoulder to cry on,” said WSU Assistant Professor Sally Cantwell on behalf of the Weber State nursing program. “She made a positive impact on those she attended school with.”
Stephanie also remembered her mother as someone who enjoyed having fun.
“We would also have dance-offs,” Stephanie remembered as she fought back tears. “My mom would always win at being the best twerker.”
Gruber confirmed the twerking as he read memories of those closest to Candland, and he shared Candland’s last Facebook post: “We are not given a good life or a bad life, we are given a life. It’s up to us to make it good or bad.”
There was much good spoken of Candland’s life. Cantwell, sharing memories of Candland’s colleagues in WSU’s nursing program, spoke of a woman driven to help others.
“She was kind, patient, loved the students, loved to educate and was a happy person,” Cantwell said.
Candland’s students at the Ogden-Weber Applied Technology College came to the funeral dressed in their purple WSU nursing scrubs in her honor.
Cantwell also announced a new scholarship at WSU set up in Candland’s honor.
“In honor of her memory, the school of nursing with be educating future nurses with an endowment scholarship set up in Cindy’s name,” Cantwell said.
In his sermon, Gruber spoke to the family in grief.
“My prayer for you is that there will be many more memories of all that was right and good and fun and meaningful and beneficial and worth celebrating,” Gruber said.
He also recounted the story of Lazarus from the New Testament, a story that brings hope to believers that they might live again after death.
It was a story Candland probably knew well.
After all was said and done, the short service concluded with a prayer from the family. Then, silence passed over the room again as Candland began her last journey, to Evergreen Memorial Park in Ogden where she was laid to rest.