LEWISBORO, N.Y. – In an emotionally charged memorial service held Sunday afternoon at John Jay Middle School, Lewisboro paid tribute to Amy, Molly and Gregory Friedlander. Police say they were murdered by husband and father Samuel Friedlander, who later took his own life, in their home on Oct. 18.

More than 100 people packed the school’s auditorium to hear friends, teachers and associates tell stories about Amy, 46, and her two children, Molly, 10, and Gregory, 8. The memorial was officiated by Rabbi Carla Freedman of the Jewish Family Congregation (JFC) in South Salem of which the Friedlanders were members.

“We are here to draw comfort and consolation from each other,” Freedman told the audience.

Deborah Bernstein founded John Jay Prep, a tutorial service, with Amy and spoke of Amy’s devotion to her two children. “Amy and I talked 10 times a day and her children were her pride and joy,” Bernstein said. “They were loved by a great and adoring mom.”

Bernstein was joined on the stage by several students from John Jay Prep. “Amy went well beyond just being a tutor,” Bernstein said. “Her students were touched by her compassion and her brilliance. She made learning fun. Our community is forever at a loss.”

Other speakers shared about the children, calling Molly a “gentle soul” who loved to play tennis and who would have been honored to see so many at her memorial.

Ashley Murphy, whose son was best friends with Gregory, said she was proud of the bond the two boys had formed. “Gregory had a certain sparkle about him. He was beyond his years – a loyal brother and a great friend,” she said. Murphy said Gregory was a great athlete, excelling in baseball and soccer.

Cristy Harris, the principal of Lewisboro Elementary School, where the Friedlander children attended school, was joined on stage by several of their teachers to recite a special poem. Harris explained that Ted Scheu the Poetry Guy had visited the school on several occasions to teach the students about poetry. When he heard about the Friedlander tragedy he composed a poem especially for Molly and Gregory entitled, “Planting Daffodils.”

Harris told the crowd that as part of the tribute, students and staff would each plant a daffodil bulb at Lewisboro Elementary in honor of Gregory and Molly.

Freedman concluded the memorial by explaining the Jewish tradition of making a contribution to a cause in memory of the deceased. Donations were being accepted for three causes: the Molly and Gregory Friedlander JFC Religious School Scholarship Fund, the JFC General fund, and planting trees in Israel through JFC. 

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