The crowd of 75, mostly nursing home residents and workers, had gathered at St. Martin's Church to say goodbye to three Micronesians who died Ash Wednesday morning when a fire swept through their rented bungalow in this town 40 miles west of Green Bay.
In life, Inos Makaya, 23, Bermin Samson, 24, and Welber Rafail, 21, were known for their exuberance.
"They had a zest for living," said the Rev. Vilas Mazemke, who presided at the service. "These young men didn't get everything done."
In death, they would become a bureaucratic problem. They hadn't worked at Greentree Health and Rehabilitation Center long enough to qualify for a death benefit that would have sent their bodies home.
And the broker who'd brought them to America - Cathy Massey, president of J/C Placement Services of Dallas, Ga. - said she wasn't responsible for transporting remains. "It's not in the contract," she said.
Massey attended the memorial service. Outside the boarded-up house where the three men died, she took pictures for her scrapbook. Later, back home in Georgia, she would speak of how she crossed the police lines and peeked inside the burned-out bungalow. She said she saw a handprint made by one of the men as he edged along the wall in a desperate attempt to escape the fire.
But that's where her involvement ended.
At the service, mourners spoke fondly of the three young men who died.
"I've been here 15 years and I've never seen people have such an impact in so short a time," said Linda Remington, a supervisor at Greentree, where the men had worked since mid- November.
From her wheelchair, using a microphone, Greentree resident Diane Groth talked about the men's last day on the job.
"Inos would always come up to me and give me his headphones so I could hear the CD he was listening to," she said. "The last day he worked, he came down the hall, saw me and reached down and gave me a kiss on the cheek."
Mourners spoke of the men's affection for their families.
Nicki Merow, whose memorial poem was read at the service, recalled how Rafail had promised his mother that he would return to Micronesia by his 23rd birthday.
"His parents just had another child, and he was supposed to pick out the name," Merow said. Days before his death, Rafail had picked the name Adrian for his new brother.
"They were homesick for the fishing and swimming back home," Remington said.
But it took weeks before the men's remains were finally returned. The Red Cross eventually picked up the bill that the "body broker" wouldn't.
Nearly a month later and an ocean away, the family and friends of Wilber Rafail gathered in the jungle village of Enipein on the island of Pohnpei to bid him farewell.
Mourners buried Rafail in a white casket covered in flowers, in a family plot in a patch of dirt two yards from the front door of the plywood house where he grew up.