The final prayers ended. Michael Langmead and his teen-age sons, Michael Jr. and Mark, began to walk away from the silver casket with its spray of pink and white flowers.
Suddenly, they burst into tears and clung tightly to one another for comfort as the terrible reality set in: It was the last farewell to their Dottie, wife and mother.
Meanwhile, a few miles away in Westminster, a similar scene took place at St. John's Catholic Church, where Anastasia "Stacey" George's weeping family and friends said their quiet good-byes before her interment at Evergreen Memorial Gardens nTC in Finksburg.
The two women were murdered Monday in Randallstown after two masked men walked into a quiet branch of the Farmers Bank,herded them and two other women employees into the vault and ordered them to lie down. One of the men then shot them all with a machine pistol.
"It was senseless, so senseless. It was an execution," Capt. Dennis M. Robinson, commander of Baltimore County's Woodlawn Police Precinct, said as he stood with scores of other mourners beside Dorothy Langmead's grave at Lake View Memorial Park near Sykesville.
The Rev. Isaac Karoor told the mourners in Westminster that the remedy for society's violence was to attend to "the most sublime part of the human personality -- the spirit. The violence in our country is a problem because we ignore the most important element in our life -- spirituality."
Mrs. Langmead, a 44-year-old bank teller from Randallstown, died in the attack at the bank in the 9800 block of Liberty Road. Mrs. George, 51, of Finksburg, was the bank's head teller. She died atthe Maryland Shock Trauma Center, six hours after the attack.
The bank's manager, Barbara Mitchell Aldrich, 52, and teller Cindy Ann Thomas, 21, both from Sykesville, also were shot, but both survived. Ms. Aldrich was released from Shock Trauma Thursday; Ms. Thomas remained in serious but stable condition, the hospital said.
Yesterday, more than 300 people, including many friends of Michael Langmead, 19, and his brother Mark, 16, filled the Church of the Holy Family for a Mass of Christian burial for Mrs. Langmead three blocks from where she was slain.
Five priests concelebrated the Mass, led by the Rev. T. Howard Metzger. "Dottie is gone in a way that is sad and cruel. That is the truth," he declared, "but God turned everything negative and cruel into the pathway to His world." Father Metzger urged the survivors "not turn turn to bitterness and hatred," but to build new lives.
Father Karoor urged Mrs. George's mourners to find solace in the belief in eternal life.
"Just like Jesus, she died young. Just like Jesus, her death was sudden, unjust and cruel," he said. "But the good news is her name, Anastasia, means resurrection. It is Greek for resurrection. The Lord has preordained she be a symbol of hope."
Emotions were held tightly in check at Mrs. Langmead's Mass until near the near end, when those in attendance sang the hymn "Yes, I Shall Arise," and the popular anthem, "Wind Beneath My Wings," with its poignant final line, "Thank God for you, the wind beneath my wings." Some mourners could no longer stifle their sobs, while others dabbed their eyes with handkerchiefs.
Mrs. Langmead's cortege stretched nearly half a mile along Liberty Road for the six-mile ride to the cemetery. Along the way, it passed the small red-brick bank where the murders occurred. The bank remains closed, and several sprays of flowers lay on the grass slope in front.
A short distance along, the procession passed a garden center whose highly visible notice board urged: "Capital Punishment for the Murderers."