ROSWELL, Ga. — Patsy Ramsey, who was thrust into the national spotlight by the unsolved 1996 death of her 6-year-old daughter JonBenet, was remembered at her funeral Thursday for her strength after the slaying and during her battle with ovarian cancer.
“I watched your lives after the tragedy of JonBenet’s death and the horror of Patsy being accused,” the Rev. Mike Long read from a letter written by an unidentified family friend to Patsy’s husband, John, and 19-year-old son, Burke, in response to her death.
“The three of you, like Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego, walked through the furnace of fire and came out without smelling like smoke. No bitterness, but a stronger, growing faith,” Long read from the letter, referring to the story from the Bible’s Old Testament.
About 300 people attended the hourlong, closed-casket service at Roswell United Methodist Church before a procession to a cemetery in Marietta, also an Atlanta suburb, where her body was buried beside JonBenet’s grave after hundreds of colorful balloons were released.
Patsy Ramsey died Saturday at her father’s home in Roswell from cancer complications. She was 49.
“We believe this day ... she is in a place where there’s no more suffering, no more pain,” Long said.
Long described Ramsey as a “truly remarkable, irreplaceable woman.” Others described her as the “biggest cheerleader” for her children, including helping her son build a skateboard park.
The Rev. Nancy Folsom, another pastor at the church, said Ramsey also would often call people recently diagnosed with cancer to offer words of encouragement in their early days of treatment. Other patients at her same clinic would make sure to schedule their treatments for when Ramsey would be there.
“In reflecting on her life with her family and friends, I heard statements like ‘she never said a negative thing about anyone’ and ‘she could light up a room,’” Folsom said. “Patsy was a wonderful mother, devoting herself to her children and their endeavors.”
Only a few references were made to JonBenet’s death during the eulogies. Most of the comments focused on her life as a whole and her fight with cancer.
JonBenet was found beaten and strangled in the basement of the family’s home in Boulder on Dec. 26, 1996. A grand jury investigation ended with no indictments and no arrests have been made in the case.
John and Patsy Ramsey left Colorado after JonBenet’s death and wrote a book, “The Death of Innocence,” which was published in 2000.
Patsy Ramsey is survived by her husband and their son, Burke.