NORTHFIELD — More than a thousand mourners gathered Thursday at St. Gianna Beretta Molla Parish in Northfield to say their final goodbyes to 15-year-old Dean Khoury.
Khoury was the youngest of four Mainland Regional High School football players who died Saturday on the Garden State Parkway when their sport utility vehicle overturned.
He was in the SUV with seven other Mustangs when the accident occurred near exit 38A in the southbound lanes of traffic.
In addition to Khoury, Edgar Bozzi, Nick Conner and Casey Brenner died.
During the funeral Mass, the Rev. Patrick J. Brady told the solemn crowd it was OK to mourn the loss of the teen, but to remember what he brought to their lives before he died.
“We have all heard this week the sounds of grief, shock and disbelief,” he said to the crowded church.
In attendance were members of the high school’s football team.
They showed solidarity by wearing their uniforms over their Mass attire and sported green and black ribbons.
Upon entering the church, the sea of green and white was easily noticeable and members of the team physically leaned on each other for support.
Brady offered verbal support to the mourning community by telling them God doesn’t make mistakes, although there appeared to be no logic behind the unexpected death of Khoury.
“I’m sure there are a thousand doubts within you whether that statement is true,” he said, adding God “writes straight with crooked lines.”
Four other players — Alex DeNafo, Kyle Beattie, Jacob Smith and Kenneth Randall — were also in the vehicle that overturned.
They were all taken to AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center, City Campus in Atlantic City, for treatment of injuries they suffered. They have since been released.
DeNafo was seen at Khoury’s funeral wearing a wrist brace.
The service started more than a hour late because the scheduled three-hour viewing time did not offer enough time for members of the public to greet the Khoury family and offer their words of support.
Even periods of heavy rain did not deter the well-wishers.
When they entered the church, Khoury’s closed casket was topped with family photos, his team jersey and a football.
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