Pittsfield parish mourns the loss of murdered reverend
The Saint Stephen's Parish in Pittsfield gathered with heavy hearts Sunday evening. One day earlier, the church's former rector died just two days after she was shot by a homeless man near Baltimore.
To view our videos, you need to
install Adobe Flash 9 or above. Install now.
Then come back here and refresh the page.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. -- "She was our hippie, as we said," said Susan Wojtasik.
Mary Marguerite Kohn spent less than two years as an assistant rector at Saint Stephen's Episcopal Church in Pittsfield, but those who knew her say her unique sense of style and humor guaranteed she'd be remembered long after she left the parish in March 2002.
"She had crazy, hair, crazy earrings, crazy clothes," said Claudia Austin Curry, a St. Stephen's parishioner and friend of Marguerite's. "It was mentioned earlier this evening she shopped at Goodwill and just was a wonderful spirit."
For most of the past 10 years, Marguerite served as a reverend at St. Peter's Episcopal Church near Baltimore; the same city where she earned a doctorate in pastoral counseling at Loyola University.
Sadly, her life came to a tragic end Saturday evening, two days after she was shot by a disgruntled homeless man at the church's food pantry.
"It's very difficult when it is someone you know," said Jim Brennan, a member of St. Stephen's. "Especially happening in a sacred place like a church."
According to Baltimore Police, Marguerite and her assistant, Brenda Brewington, were both working at the food pantry when Douglas Jones walked in.
After growing frustrated, he allegedly shot both women before taking his own life.
Brewington was pronounced dead at the scene
On Sunday back in Pittsfield, the St. Stephen's parish gathered for a vigil to pray for the victims and accused killer and pay tribute to their one-of-a-kind friend.
"It has to be incredibly traumatic for the people down in Maryland, unbelievable to have something like that happen," Brennan said.
"We're making a society that's sick and Mary Marguerite was one of the people who was standing up to that," Wojtasik said. "I love her for it and I think she's a saint."
In addition to her "quirky" style, a man who spoke during Sunday's service said what he remembers most about Marguerite is that following the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, she organized a joint prayer service for all of the churches and temples in Pittsfield.