Olivia Rose Engel
No one smiled like Olivia Engel. The bright-eyed, brunette 6-year-old, who was killed last Friday in the Newtown school massacre, was all set to play an angel in her church’s nativity play that night. With a beaming smile, six-year-old Olivia Engel holds up a gold star, in the above picture, while wearing the wings she was going to put on for her role as an angel in this weekend’s nativity play at Newtown’s main Catholic church. Instead, she became one of the victims in the Sandy Hook school massacre- and the performance remained an angel short in her memory. The Reverend Robert Weiss of the St. Rose of Lima church said: “She was supposed to be an angel in the play. Now she’s an angel up in heaven.”
Olivia Rose Engel, 6, left Sandy Hook Elementary School and joined the angel in Heaven, December 14. Born July 18, 2006, at Danbury Hospital to Shannon (Merlino) and Brian Engel, Olivia brought immediate joy to all those around her with an ever-present smile and adorably infectious giggle.
Quickly growing from a happy, bouncing baby who clung tightly to her stuffed lamb into an enthusiastic, loving little girl who always wanted to do and see more, Olivia’s zest for life began early. With help from her adoring parents, she quickly developed an affinity for all things fun. On any given afternoon, one could just as easily find Olivia twirling in a pink tutu in dance class, developing her swing on the tennis court, kicking the winning soccer goal, drawing, painting, and gluing things in art class, or honing her inner songstress in her community musical theater class.
The budding swimmer also loved to join her dad or grandpa on their boats, so she could explore the world from the water.
As Olivia continued to grow, she developed a love and affinity for math and reading, arts and crafts, and her parish. Participating in her church’s CCD program and leading the family’s Grace each evening were sources of great pride for Olivia, as was being a big sister. Ever patient, Olivia took joy in helping her three-year-old brother Brayden explore the world she’d grown to love. This smart, bubbly NY Yankee fan and Daisy Girl Scout would instantly light up a room with her humor, charm, and wit. She was a sweet and appreciative six-year-old with a lot to live for. Her physical loss will deeply be felt everyday by those who loved her most, but her sparkly spirit will love on forever.
Her parents and brother; maternal uncle JR Merline; grandmother Suanne Merlino; great-grandmother Esther Galligan; paternal grandparents Christine and Richard Engel; and countless aunts, cousins, and close friends survive Olivia. She has joined her maternal grandfather, Jeffery Merlino, in Heaven.
Olivia’s wake takes place Thursday, December 20, from 4 to 7 pm, at Honan Funeral Home, 58 Main Street, Newtown, with her funeral Mass occurring Friday, December 21, at 1 pm, at St. Rosa of Lima Catholic Church, 46 Church Hill Road, Newtown.
In lieu of flowers, contributions in Olivia’s honor can be directed to the Newtown Park and Bark at www.newtownparkandbark.org