WATONGA — Erma Daukei wept Thursday as she gripped the lectern behind her daughter’s casket and read a poem she wrote to the slain 8-year-old. “You touched so many lives without knowing it,” Daukei said during Rosalin Reynolds’ funeral service. “Rosa, you have been loved and you are very well missed. I will take care of your brothers and sister very well.” About 500 people packed the Watonga High School gym to remember Rosalin, who was found fatally stabbed March 23 in a field outside her family’s Watonga apartment. Dozens of family members and friends sat in folding chairs arranged on the gymnasium floor while hundreds of others filled about three-quarters of the seats in the stands. The funeral service began with prayers and a Cheyenne song sung to the tune of “Amazing Grace” and featured several speakers, including the pastor of the church in Elk City that Rosalin attended before moving to Watonga before her first-grade year. Rosalin’s small white casket was adorned with traditional American Indian blankets and flowers. More flowers, pictures and blankets were arranged on both sides of the casket. Watonga School District Superintendent Craig Cummins described the day of Rosalin’s death as “one of the saddest days in our history.” “We don’t want to remember the horrible things, the bad things that happened,” Cummins said. “We’re going to remember the things she shared with us.” April Green Swanegan, another speaker, read from a poem called “The Dash.” The title refers to the dash that appears between someone’s birthday and date of death in an obituary or on a tombstone. “For that dash represents all the time that she spent alive on Earth,” Swanegan read. “And now only those that loved her know what that little line is worth.”
Students’ memoriesDeann Moore, Rosalin’s second-grade teacher, shared stories about Rosalin with the audience. She said she asked her students this week to draw pictures of their favorite memories with Rosalin, and many of them drew scenes from basketball games they played with her. “The scoreboard always had Rosa’s team ahead,” Moore said through tears. “She was loved by all of us and will be missed.”
Burial in ConchoThe funeral service ended after about two hours. About 30 cars filled with friends and relatives made their way to the cemetery behind the hearse. Rosalin was to be buried in the Cheyenne and Arapahoe Cemetery in Concho. James “Icey” Daukei Jr., 20, of Watonga is being held without bail in Blaine County jail in Rosalin’s death. He has been charged with murder. He is Erma Daukei’s cousin.
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