BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Geraldine Talley was shopping at Tops for a few items on Saturday May 14 when the unthinkable happened. Her family remembers her as someone who was open, honest and brave.

“My sister in-law was a beautiful woman, outside and in. She was taken from this world because of the color of her skin,” Brian Talley, brother-in-law to Geraldine, said in a poem he wrote.

Brian Talley’s brother was married to Geraldine. Even though they were separated, Geraldine was still close to the Talley family. She helped Brian after an aneurysm left him partially blind and made him an amputee. He lost his right leg, which makes it hard for him to get around. He says he felt like half of a person, but it was Geraldine and her listening ear that made him feel whole again.

“Gerri had a heart of open gold for you would reach out for you. It still hurts me to even talk about it now to see that she is past and she is gone,” Talley continued. “She was really the only person I could talk to about it to give me inspiration to keep going. Because there were so many times I wanted to give up.”

Brian said Geraldine’s love of cooking is the legacy she leaves behind. His goal is to create a cookbook that features her recipes, with all proceeds going to her two children and their families.

“Something like that lasts forever. I want my sister-in-law to be remembered forever,” Talley added. “I want people to know Geraldine Talley was a force to be reckoned with in this world and that she can leave a legacy that will help other people.”

He said he looks forward to seeing her face on the cover of a cookbook that is sold nationwide, so the world never forgets Geraldine, but he is looking for help creating a larger collection of recipes. He said he also wants to include dishes from the other victims’ families to round out the “Jefferson 10” cookbook, so no one forgets their names.

While he loved anything Geraldine cooked, Brian fondly remembers her pastries and desserts, including Danishes, cheesecakes and cobblers. He even made apple crisp from her recipe the other day, and said he and his aunt ate the whole pan in two days — it was that good.

He encourages everyone to stick together and to find strength within the community, which truly is the meaning of “Buffalo Strong.”

“Even though you knocked us down, we are always going to stand back up,” Brian Talley said. “We are going to get back up. We are going to get back up stronger. We are going to get up with love and we are going to let you know that we ain’t going nowhere.”

Through poetry, Brian has found a way to grieve and most importantly share more about what his sister-in-law meant to him. He plans to read the following self-written poem on Friday at Geraldine’s funeral.

My sister-in-law was a beautiful woman

Outside and in

She was taken from this world

Because of the color of her skin.

400 plus years

We have struggled to survive

Through many trials and tribulations

just to stay alive

Yes I am angry

and its hard to be kind

But God in His word

Said vengeance is mine.

There’s a battle inside all of us

between goodness and sin

And it’s up to us

To see who’s going to win.

Yes this is a tragedy truly for any race

To hate enough to kill someone

Because of the color of their face.

There’s a lot in this world

That will never be understood

But all things work together

for God’s good.

These senseless murders

We find it hard to cope

This is when we must look to God

With faith, trust and hope.

Written by Brian Talley

Relatives and friends are invited to gather at the Mount Aaron Missionary Baptist Church at 540 Genesee St. in Buffalo on Friday, May 27 from 10-11 a.m. A Funeral Service will immediately follow at 11 a.m.

Tara Lynch is a Buffalo native who joined the News 4 team as a reporter in 2022. She previously worked at WETM in Elmira, N.Y., a sister station of News 4. You can follow Tara on Facebook and Twitter and find more of her work here.