BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Celestine Chaney is being remembered as a loving mother and grandmother.
She’s one of ten lives taken in the Tops mass shooting.
Her funeral was held Tuesday at Elim Christian Fellowship in Buffalo.
Chaney was the youngest of four girls, a mother to her only son, a grandmother to nine grandchildren, and a great-grandmother to nine great-grandchildren.
She was a survivor of breast cancer and three brain aneurysms.
“The thing that I think we want to hold onto is her level of resilience and resilience is not the ability to bounce back, but to battle every day. To get up every day with illnesses and sicknesses but she never had a level of complaint,” said Bishop Troy Bronner, pastor at Elim Christian Fellowship.
Chaney attended Bryant and Stratton College for business and worked at New Era until she left the workplace due to her medical issues.
Family and friends gathered Tuesday morning to celebrate Chaney’s life and they said she was the life of every party.
“Today was a solemn day and as Bishop Bronner said in his eulogy, that evil does not have the last word. The last word in this community is victory. The family clearly is somber yet they are really comforted by the amazing generosity of a wonderful community and the city of good neighbors,” said Bishop Matthew Brown.
Chaney’s son Wayne and three of her grandchildren fought back tears as they remembered their loved one.
One granddaughter recalled taking her out to dinner the week before she died, saying she’ll always cherish that day.
Her son spoke emotionally about Chaney teaching him how to survive with nothing.
Church leaders say this death is heartbreaking but prayer will lead everyone through it.
“When you saw her, you saw love. When you saw her, you saw resilience. When you saw her, you saw faithfulness. And that’s exactly how the family will remember her not as someone who was victim but someone who they loved and will continuously cherish and will continue in their legacy,” said Minister Ahmad Randall.
Chaney celebrated her 65th birthday the week before her death.
Kayla Green is a reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2021. See more of her work here.