EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

December 21, 2012

Nancy Lanza remembered at Kingston service

By Doug Ireland
direland@eagletribune.com

---- — KINGSTON, N.H. — It’s been 14 years since Newtown, Conn., shooting victim Nancy Champion Lanza last lived in town, but yesterday the 52-year-old Sanborn Regional High School graduate was remembered here at a private memorial service.

The service for Lanza — one of 27 people shot and killed by her 20-year-old son, Adam Lanza, a week ago — was held at an undisclosed location, Kingston police Chief Donald Briggs Jr. said.

In addition, medical examiner Dr. H. Wayne Carver said a funeral home outside of Connecticut — believed to be in New Hampshire — had contacted his office to claim Nancy Lanza’s body. He did not disclose the funeral home’s name.

Briggs has said he grew up with Nancy Lanza, but did not know her son, who was 6 years old when she, former husband Peter Lanza and his older brother moved to Connecticut in 1998.

News of the tragic shootings of the mother, 20 elementary school children, and six teachers and school administrators has shaken the nation.

It’s also had a big impact on Kingston, where Nancy Lanza graduated from Sanborn in 1978. Her brother, James Champion, has worked for Briggs as a longtime member of the Kingston Police Department.

“It’s a very sad situation for everyone,” Briggs said.

CNN has reported that the slain mother vacationed at Bretton Woods in the days before her death, returning the night before she was found dead in her home Dec. 14

Adam Lanza then stormed Sandy Hook Elementary School, massacring those in his path before fatally shooting himself.

Briggs refuted reports that Nancy Lanza was buried yesterday in Kingston. He said it has not been determined if she would be buried in town.

Funeral arrangements for Adam Lanza are not being disclosed, he said.

News that Nancy Lanza’s body could be returned to the Granite State for burial captured the attention of Southern New Hampshire funeral directors, who said yesterday they had not been contacted by her family.

Tom Brewitt of Brewitt Funeral Home, which has locations in Exeter, Epping and Raymond, wondered if his funeral home would be asked to handle the funeral arrangements since it held the service for Nancy Lanza’s father.

“We have not been contacted, but we know the family,” he said. “I thought we might be the one to bring her back.”

Brewitt also said his funeral home was not the one who contacted the Connecticut medical examiner. Carver could not be reached yesterday for comment.

Brewitt said he also knew Nancy Lanza’s mother, Dottie Champion, who was a nurse in the Exeter school system when his two grown children were students.

She also worked at Bakie Elementary School in Kingston, which her daughter attended as a child.

“I knew her very well,” Brewitt said of Dottie Champion, who is retired. “She was a lovely woman.”

While in Kingston, the Lanzas lived on a six-acre Champion family plot, which Nancy acquired from her mother in 1987. The property is less than a mile from the town common and Town Hall. Briggs has said Nancy Lanza stayed at home to care for Adam and his brother Ryan Lanza, now 24.

Material from The Associated Press was used in this report.