One by one, a procession of Regis Korchinski-Paquet’s family members leaned in to a white casket and kissed her goodbye.
They cried softly at a small funeral for the 29-year-old Toronto woman who died after falling from her apartment’s balcony on May 27 while police officers were in her home.
Roy Dawson, a pastor with the Peace Community Church of Jesus Christ, remembered Korchinski-Paquet as a caring woman who believed in God.
“The strength she displayed and courage that she had to go through any difficulties with a smile is something that we will hold onto,” he said at the service that was streamed online.
Korchinski-Paquet died after police responded to 911 calls from the home about a possible assault. Her mother has said she wanted police to take her daughter to a mental health facility in Toronto.
Her family has questioned the role of Toronto police officers in her death. The province’s police watchdog, the Special Investigations Unit, is investigating.
The family said Wednesday they will schedule an interview with the SIU as soon as possible.
They had postponed interviews last week after their lawyer cited concerns about possible leaks from police sources regarding the case.
The family did not speak at the funeral on Thursday, but said in Korchinski-Paquet’s obituary that she was an avid gymnast as a child and loved dancing, music and singing.
She started every day by texting her siblings “Good Morning, I love you!” the family said.
“Her beautiful, infectious smile and unique laugh will be missed, and her absence felt in our hearts forever.”
Dawson also remembered Korchinski-Paquet’s smile.
“I remember Regis, all the time she would come to the building, always smiling,” he said.
“She’s so encouraging, no matter how I was feeling that day.”
He said the two bonded over long discussions about God, as well as her own journey through life and her “spicy” attitude.
“I don’t care how spicy she gets – and she got spicy with me sometimes – but she always ended up saying ‘I’m OK,”‘ Dawson said.
He said the best way to keep Korchinski-Paquet’s memory alive is to remember her smile.
“Every time when you smile, you’re just realizing we’re continuing the legacy of Regis and her strength, her kindness and her love,” Dawson said.
“Keep on smiling. Hug somebody.”