Powell boys laid to rest in Washington state

Posted at 3:45 PM, Feb 11, 2012

Hundreds gathered at a church here, and thousands more online and around TVs, to pay their last respects to Charlie and Braden Powell.

The boys' grandparents, Chuck and Judy Cox, thanked people all over the world for supporting them since their children's mother, Susan Cox Powell, disappeared from her West Valley City home in 2009.

"Everyone was doing everything they possibly could to keep them safe and help them and love them," said Chuck Cox. "We thank you for your support. We know that they're with their mother. Thank you very much."

The boys, murdered by their father in an explosion and fire earlier this week, were remembered in a funeral service broadcast online and on television. Those in attendance at the church services wore blue and purple ribbons, in remembrance of Charlie and Braden, and their missing mother, Susan Cox Powell.

The family requested that both boys be buried together. A gray-blue casket was placed before a table of pictures of the boys in the church.

"This moment is about two beautiful boys," said Pastor Dean Curry of the Life Center Church in Tacoma. "There have been all kinds of things said surrounding those boys and how we got here is a story well known. But what we do here and the spirit that we do have here is up to us. This is now. This is going to be done in the spirit and in the name of Jesus of Nazareth, the Prince of Peace."

Curry reminded the mourners that this is "not about the grownups today," and said the services would focus on 7-year-old Charlie and 5-year-old Braden.

"I applaud both of these families for putting aside everything that's led up to this moment," he said, referring to members of both Susan and Josh Powell's families, seated in the audience.

Josh Powell's pastor, Tim Atkins, invited everyone to hold hands as he prayed.

"We are in need of your comfort, so be gracious to us," Atkins said. "As you have heard our prayers in recent days."

Images of the boys at parties, with their mother, grandparents and other relatives, and at play were shown. Noticeably absent were any pictures of Josh Powell. In the funeral program, his face was Photoshopped out.

Charlie and Braden's teachers in Utah and Washington state gave remembrances. Stories were told of Charlie's love of nature. He would sneak worms and caterpillars into class, said his kindergarten teacher Tammy Oden.

"His bright, funny compassionate personality lives on with all who knew him. He is safe in his mother's arms," she said.

Braden loved Legos and puzzles, said Christie King of the YMCA. She chuckled at him being a "tease" with a huge smile on his angelic face. He loved cars, trucks and trains.

"Braden was also a tickle monster. He loved to tickle and be tickled," she said.

Braden's smile was like his mother's, King said.

Tim Sloan, a friend of the Cox family, urged mourners to find comfort and hope in Jesus Christ.

"We question our faith when we can't make sense of something so terrible and horrible," he said. "But the plan of salvation is a plan of happiness."

Sloan said the boys are with their mother "in a celestial sphere of love and eternal peace." He urged the crowd to "strive to be better fathers and mothers."

As the funeral ended, Curry thanked the families for "coming together."

"They have set aside very dark and hurtful moments to celebrate children," he said.

The boys were buried at a private service at a cemetery in Puyallup, Washington.