Emilie Parker’s father: 6-year-old loved to cheer up sad friends

"All those who had the pleasure to meet her would agree that this world has been a better place because she has been in it," Robbie Parker, 30, said Saturday.
(David Goldman, Associated Press)

When her friends were feeling sad, Emilie Parker reached for the markers and colored pencils that she almost always carried.

“She never missed an opportunity to draw a picture or make a card for those around her,” father Robbie Parker said. “I can’t count the number times Emilie … rushed to grab a piece of paper to draw them a picture or write them a note.”


Parker’s comments at a news conference Saturday were the first to be widely broadcast since a gunman forced his way into Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., on Friday morning and opened fire. Among the 26 killed in the school were 20 students, all ages 6 and 7.

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Parker, 30, took deep, steadying breaths and fought back tears Saturday night as he described his 6-year-old daughter. She had big blue eyes, lots of white-blond hair and a dusting of freckles across her nose.

“Her laughter was infectious,” Parker said. “All those who had the pleasure to meet her would agree that this world has been a better place because she has been in it.”

She loved art. She loved trying new things -- except for food. But above all, she loved her 3- and 4-year-old sisters, Parker said. She taught them to dance, to read, to do arts and crafts.

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“They looked up to her,” Parker said. “It would be really sweet to see the times when one of them would fall or one of them would have their feelings hurt and would run to Emilie to get their support and hugs and kisses.”

He paused to send a blessing to the family of the gunman, 20-year-old Adam Lanza.

“I can’t imagine how hard this experience must be for you,” Parker said. “I want you to know that our family and our love and our support goes out to you as well.”

Her father was teaching his eldest daughter Portuguese. The last words he exchanged with Emilie were in Portuguese, he said, as she got ready for school and he got ready for work.

Emilie said good morning. She asked how her dad was doing. She said she loved him.

“And I gave her a kiss,” Parker said, “and I was out the door.”