By Tommy Mann Jr.
The Orange Leader
ORANGE — Tears and laughter filled the sanctuary of North Orange Baptist Church as hundreds of friends and long time supporters came to pay their final respects to the girl with the never ending smile, Victoria Enmon.
Enmon, 15, died early Monday from complications of a fungal disease after battling acute lymphoblastic leukemia for more than four years.
Two large images graced the back wall of the sanctuary as people entered the church. Looking back at you, with that trademark smile, was Victoria, wearing angel wings and arms spread as if flying through the heavens.
A long line of people, at times stretching from the front dais to the main doors of the sanctuary, patiently waited their turn to speak with Enmon’s parents, Jo Ellen and Victor, and offer their condolences and support.
While some waited to speak with family members, others mingled and moved about the sanctuary viewing the dozens of photograph snapshots, portraits and collages of various periods of the teenager’s life.
A common thread in every photographic image was Victoria’s enchanting smile, which she would even wear on not so good days.
Among the images present included a family portrait from her sister Christin’s wedding, while another was of Victoria and Gov. Rick Perry taken during one of her trips to Austin.
A gavel from the Texas State House of Representatives laid upon a table, which also held a framed proclamation recently received from Shelby County Judge John Tomlin proclaiming Jan. 25 as Victoria Jo Enmon Day.
Hugs, handshakes, and tears were plenty during this heart tugging visitation service, especially for friends and family members. Victoria’s best friend, Sydney Taylor, was doing her best to stay composed at this difficult time.
Best friends since first grade, Enmon and Taylor, both 15, have shared each other’s joy and pain over the years.
“I remember when Victoria found out she had been diagnosed with leukemia,” Taylor said while fighting back tears. “I was the first person she called after she and her family found out.”
Taylor said she learned strength through the trials her best friend had to endure over the last four years.
“She wasn’t a quitter,” Taylor said. “No matter how bad things would get, she just didn’t give up. She was determined to the end not to let this disease beat her.”
Although Enmon could be quiet and subdued while out in public, whether at a blood drive or bone marrow registry, or lunch at a local country club, Enmon was also a bit of jokester.
“When she was with her close friends, Victoria was always smiling and cracking jokes,” Taylor said. “She could be really wild and crazy, but kind of mellow when she was around people she didn’t know as well.”
When asked what she thought would have come of Enmon’s life if not cut short by the dreaded disease, she believed Enmon would have helped others.
“She told me she wanted to be a nurse,” Taylor said. “And she wanted to work at Texas Children’s Hospital, which she spent a lot of time because of her leukemia. She thought she would be able to help those who were going through the same thing.”
Taylor said she and Enmon had promised one another they would serve as each other’s bridesmaids at their respective weddings.
“We talked about that promise we made a few weeks ago,” Taylor said. “When I get married, I promised she would be my bridesmaid. She will still have her spot when that happens, but it will just be empty now.”
One of Enmon’s family members closest in age is 17-year-old Shelly Conn.
“We were always together when we would go visit our grandparents in Center (Texas),” Conn said with a slight laugh. “It always seemed like everyone else was so much older than us in that town, even our family members. We were closest in age, so we were together all of the time.”
Conn said believes so many people came to support the Enmon family during these past four years because of how well-respected the family is among the community.
“Victoria and her dad (Victor) are just alike,” Conn said. “She would always cut up and make you laugh, and he can do that too.”
As the disease began to take its toll on Enmon’s health and the end was nearer, Conn said her cousin refused to admit defeat.
“Even when everyone else was sad about it, Victoria never gave up,” Conn said. “She was always smiling. I think that is what so many people remember about her. I think it is what I’ll miss the most.”
Funeral services will be held at 4 p.m. today at North Orange Baptist Church, which is located on North 16th Street in Orange.
From 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Friday, an additional viewing will be held at Watson and Sons Funeral Home in Center, Texas, which will be followed by a graveside service at 3 p.m. at Oaklawn Memorial Park in Center.
Reach this reporter at 409-883-3571, Ext. 2619 or firstname.lastname@example.org
By Tommy Mann Jr.
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