Home / Politics / With no family left, El Paso man opened wife's funeral to public. Up to 1,000 are now expected.

With no family left, El Paso man opened wife's funeral to public. Up to 1,000 are now expected.

FILE - In this Aug. 6, 2019 file photo, Antonio Basco cries beside a cross at a makeshift memorial near the scene of a mass shooting at a shopping complex, in El Paso, Texas. Basco, whose 63-year-old wife was among the Texas mass shooting victims says he has no other family and welcomes anyone wanting to attend her services in El Paso. Margie Reckard was among 22 people fatally shot on Aug. 3 at a the Walmart. Reckard and Basco were married 22 years. (AP Photo/John Locher, File)

As many as 1,000 people are expected to attend the funeral of Margie Reckard on Friday, one of 22 people killed in the white supremacist terror attack that targeted El Paso, Texas. The number of mourners was completely unexpected, because Margie’s widower, Antonio Basco, said they have no other family. He allowed the funeral home to open her service to the public—and the public responded.

”Since then, the funeral home has been inundated with support from people who never knew Basco or his wife. ‘We’re getting calls constantly, every two or three minutes,’ Harrison Johnson, the funeral director at Perches Funeral Homes, told NPR. ‘It really surprised us.’” Harrison said that because the funeral home has a capacity of 250 people, Margie’s service is being moved to a larger venue.

It’s a moving gesture that is hopefully easing even just a bit of the pain Basco is experiencing. “In the days after the massacre,” CNN reported, “Basco has visited the makeshift memorial behind the Walmart store daily. He would come and go at all hours of the day and has slept there at least one night. He kneels in front of a white cross bearing his wife’s name that is surrounded by candles and dozens of flowers. He prays for her and even talks to her.”

Rico Duran, a home health aide who worked for the couple, said he remembered they had “so much love for the Chicanos and overall the people in the city. They didn’t know Spanish but they were always making an effort to communicate with Spanish speakers.” The couple had been married for 22 years. “When I met her she was an angel and she still is,” Basco said. “I was supposed to be the strong one but I found out I’m the weak one, and she’s going to be missed a lot.”

Among the mourners expected at Margie’s service will be El Paso Rep. Veronica Escobar, who tweeted that Basco “will receive a flag flown over the U.S. Capitol in her honor,” while an online fundraiser set up by a local reporter for him has raised thousands of dollars to take care of his expenses while mourns. “Johnson, who is also a pastor, said he will make certain that Basco stays surrounded by support. ‘We’re trying to give him some comfort right now.’”

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