Singing and shouts of “Amen, Hallelujah!” overpowered Gatling’s Chapel Saturday, when a large crowd assembled for the funeral of a 77-year-old deacon shot earlier this month in the living room of his Roseland home.
But the gathering — with its organ and electric guitar playing — was far from a glum service.
“I know it seems like a crazy time to give (God) glory, but I want to give (God) glory,” said the Reverend Claudia Watkins, who officiated the service. “This is not a funeral. This is a homegoing.”
The service celebrated the life of Odell Branch, killed March 9 after a bullet that crashed through the front double windows of his home hit him in the head, just as he sat down with his 5-year-old great-grandson for chocolate ice cream.
The boy, Shamaree, was wounded, as was family friend Nikeva Parker and her 2-year-old son, Emaree, who were getting into a van in front of the house in the 200 block of West 105th Street.
Branch was pronounced dead at 7:41 p.m. at Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office. Shamaree’s arm was injured, and he was taken to Christ Medical Center. No charges have been announced.
During Branch’s visitation moments before the service, a line of hundreds formed at his casket, snaking its way through the Far South Side chapel’s narrowed hallways and out its doors onto South Halsted Street. Some visitors arrived in formal attire while others came in work uniforms, their caps held close to their chests.
Source: Chicago Tribune |