LITTLETON, Colo. – Donna Humphrey, the slain mother of a federal judge, was remembered at a funeral service Saturday as a bright and inquisitive woman who was active in her church and gave her time to charity.
Judge Joan Humphrey Lefkow (search) held back tears as she entered St. James Presbyterian church outside Denver and walked past large photographs of her mother and her husband, Michael, who were killed last month in an apparent attempt to get even with Lefkow.
Although the man apparently responsible for the slayings has committed suicide, at least a dozen U.S. marshals were stationed around the church and a mobile police command center had been set up as precautions.
"She was an amazing woman. People loved her. She brought a fresh presence wherever she went," Pastor Patti Anderson said. "She was incredibly bright and incredibly well-read. She was very rich in language, a self-educated woman. Bright, inquisitive and she didn't settle for easy answers."
Many of Humphrey's poems were posted on the church walls Saturday.
Humphrey had been active for 25 years with Network Ministries, a shelter and church in Denver that helped the homeless and mentally ill, said senior minister John Hicks.
"It's a place where we get together and love folks," said Hicks, who led the funeral. "She's been a very good friend."
Hicks also directly addressed the slaying in his eulogy.
"I just don't want to walk around the word murder. Donna was murdered. Someone took her life," he said.
Last fall, Lefkow dismissed a rambling malpractice lawsuit in which the suspect in the slayings of her mother and husband, Bart Ross, claimed cancer treatments had disfigured his face. Her ruling was upheld by a federal appeals court in January.
Ross shot himself during a routine traffic stop outside Milwaukee earlier this week. Authorities said he admitted to the murders in a suicide note found in his van. DNA evidence from a cigarette butt also linked the 57-year-old Chicago electrician to the crime scene.