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Posted 24 Feb 2001   For week ended December 15, 2000
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News about Mormons, Mormonism,
and the LDS Church
Sent on Mormon-News: 15Dec00

By Kent Larsen

Mormon Family Overwhelmed By City's Support After Sister's Death

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA -- The brother of Rebecca Vernon, who died after being hit by a San Francisco bus, told the San Francisco Chronicle that he plans to ask the police not to press charges against the driver of the bus, in recognition of his sister's forgiving nature. The bus struck Vernon as she was crossing Folsom street on her way to work Tuesday, dragging her several feet before running her over. She was the 39th person to die on San Francisco streets this year, according to police reports.

Police have initially determined that Vernon was in the crosswalk properly and that the driver was at fault. But Vernon's brother, Greg, 53, says that it would be appropriate to forgive because of his sister's nature, "She had a profound sense of forgiveness." Greg Vernon added that the bus driver will be punished enough by the accident, "People forget that a tragedy is directly visited on the person who caused it. Every day when he gets on a bus, it's going to be there. I think Becky would have forgiven the guy by the time it was over."

San Franciscans have overwhlemed the family with their generosity in the wake of Rebecca Vernon's death, and the family contacted the Chronicle on Thursday to take out an ad thanking the city. Her employer, Charles Schwab & Co. has paid for the family's travel and accommodations and for transporting her body to Salt Lake City for the funeral and burial. Construction workers that witnessed the accident collected $353 on the spot for the family, and passersby were placing flowers on the spot even before the body had been removed.

"We were blown away," said Greg Vernon."In many ways, they have balanced the tragedy with caring. In whatever life-after-life state there is, I bet Becky's touched."

Born January 26, 1949, Vernon was the second child in a close Mormon family. Her father, deceased in 1985, taught sociology at the University of Utah while her mother was a housewife. Rebecca Vernon fell in love with San Francisco when she visited with her then-husband 20 years ago.

After she divorced, Vernon moved to San Francisco and bought a condominium on Third Street, which she decorated with original art from the art galleries in the city. Vernon loved San Francisco's art scene. "The art, the galleries, the expositions -- that's what she lived for, " said Greg Vernon. To honor their sister's memory, the Vernon brothers say they will dedicate donations to an art scholarship and a commission of artwork for the Schwab offices. "We want to have a work of art that represents the spontaneous giving and caring from everyone from the medical examiner to the people on the street who brought flowers and laid them down next to her."


Grieving Family Forgives Bus Driver
San Francisco Chronicle 14Dec00 P2
By Suzanne Herel: Chronicle Staff Writer


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