Madison "Maddy" Boutelle was excited for her "golden birthday," said her father, Matt Boutelle.
The 13-year-old Newport Beach resident would have turned 14 on July 14. She died of a brain aneurysm Tuesday, just about a month shy of the day she was looking forward to.
More than 1,000 people gathered at St. Andrews Presbyterian Church in Newport Beach Saturday afternoon to rejoice Maddy's life.
The Rev. Dr. Richard Kannwischer led the ceremony and presented the agenda. The first thing that everyone was going to do, Kannwischer said, was mourn.
"There's a reason that God outfitted our bodies with tear ducts," Kannwischer said. "And this is a safe place because, for many people here today, it feels like God has taken a wrecking ball and he's taken it to our hearts."
While Maddy's passing was grieved at the service, it was also celebrated.
Throughout the ceremony, family and friends spoke of Maddy's never-ending smile and her always positive attitude.
"Maddy was an amazing person and a friend to everybody," said Maddy's friend Charity Rivera, 14. "She was beautiful and never did anything wrong. She was just a good person."
Charity Rivera's mother, Lisa, added, "She was kind and never said anything mean to anyone. If someone was bullied, she always defended that kid."
Maddy's parents exemplified strength as they told fond memories of their daughter.
"Maddy's love, joy and happiness is something she shared with everyone she came into contact with," said Carrie Boutelle, Maddy's mother. "She is an irreplaceable spirit in our lives and it was her God-given gift to bless everyone she came into contact with."
Maddy's best friend, Kira Ellis-Josch, 14, remembered her for her happiness and outgoing personality.
"Whenever a song she liked would come on, she would get up and dance like nobody was watching, no matter where she was or who she was with," Kira said. "This also led me to sometimes pretend I didn't know her, but she still made me laugh and brightened my day.
"Maddy has made such an impact on everyone she met, and, looking at us all now, I can tell she still is."
A paddle out will be held at 11:30 Sunday at Big Corona State Beach in Maddy's memory. Those desiring to honor Maddy may make donations in her name to Children's Hospital of Orange County, 455 S. Main St., Orange CA, 92868. They may also donate to St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church Youth Group, 600 St. Andrew's Road, Newport Beach, CA 92663.