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Shooting victim Aurora Godoy remembered for her humor, warmth

 Aurora Godoy

Family and friends arrive at Calvary Chapel South Bay in Gardena for the services for Aurora Godoy.

(Michael Robinson Chavez / Los Angeles Times)

Aurora Godoy and her husband, high school sweethearts, had always had a plan. They were going to get married, buy a house, have at least one child and grow old together.

“We weren’t able to accomplish the last one,” James Godoy said tearfully at a memorial service as he held their son, Alexander, who will turn 2 in January.

At 26, Aurora Godoy was the youngest of 14 people who were killed when Syed Rizwan Farook and his wife, Tashfeen Malik, stormed a holiday gathering for San Bernardino County workers.

An estimated 800 people gathered at Calvary Chapel South Bay in Gardena on Wednesday, sharing memories of Godoy, who they said was always happy.

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They packed the pews — some wearing pins with her smiling photo underneath the words: “In memory of our colt Aurora Godoy.… Forever in our hearts.”

Since January, Godoy had worked as an office assistant in the county’s Department of Public Health. She was with co-workers at the Inland Regional Center when the terrorist attack occurred.

“She left this Earth on Dec. 2 in a horrific, violent act,” Pastor Jeff Gill told those assembled, including some who survived the shooting. “We’re here today to remind those who entertain such heinous acts, they will not win.… These cowardly acts will not prevail.”

In the front of the chapel was an urn containing Godoy’s ashes; a Green Bay Packers display rested against the table.

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Her closest friends and family shared stories about her hypochondria and her love of Disneyland. Whenever she was in a bad mood, they said, her frown could easily be turned into a smile by giving her something sweet.

Her sister-in-law Evelyn Godoy promised to keep Aurora’s memory alive by sharing everything about her with Alexander. She added that she would take him to the best sweet spots all over town.

“I love you and I will miss you dearly,” Evelyn Godoy said, her voice trembling as she began to cry.

Aurora met James Godoy in her freshman year of high school and they began dating her sophomore year. The couple married in Las Vegas in 2012 in a small ceremony.

As James prepared to speak Wednesday, his son ran to him — arms outstretched.

“Come here,” he said, scooping Alexander into his arms.

He said he had been unsure of what to say because he was “still in disbelief.”

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“Aurora was my wife, my soul mate, the love of my life,” he said, pausing to catch his breath, his son looking out at the crowd.

Early in the relationship, Godoy said, people would comment that he and Aurora were attached at the hip and certainly would grow tired of one another.

“They were wrong,” he said. “I’m thankful for all the memories I have of our time together. I still can’t believe she’s been taken.… Fortunately we had a son that embodies so much of who she was as a person.”

Family and friends watched, many in tears, as a slide show flashed across screens in front of the pews. In almost every photo, Aurora had a smile on her face.

brittny.mejia@latimes.com

Twitter: @brittny_mejiaMORE ON SAN BERNARDINO

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