Badger’s estranged husband Matthew also prepared his reflections of the girls' lives, echoing many of the same thoughts during the funeral service Thursday at St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Manhattan. The Rev. William Shillady read Matthew Badger's words on his behalf.
The three Badger sisters, Lily, 9, and twins, Sarah and Grace, 7, died with their grandparents, Lomer and Pauline Johnson, from smoke inhalation in the tragic fire in their Shippan Point home.
Lily was described as shy, but both parents say that once she loved somebody, they would always have an in with her. Her father also said each person had his or her own private relationship with his oldest child.
“A day with Lily was like a day with a beautiful song,” Matthew Badger wrote in his eulogy.
Madonna also reminisced about going for walks around New York City when Lily was a baby, carrying extra diapers in her coat pockets. Lily was good at making up her own songs and dancing, the mother recalled.
“She had dance moves that far outdid Michael Jackson,” Badger said, drawing laughs in the somber church.
In addition to Grace’s bravery — which she showed by being the first to swing on a trapeze on a recent family vacation — and the way she could punch, which Matthew Badger’s letter said would rival any 9-year-old boy, the parents also remembered her fondness for Band-Aids. “There was nothing Grace Badger couldn’t make with a Band-Aid,” her mother said, mentioning that she would use them as tape, to make balls and even wrap presents.
Both parents said they will never forget how Grace did not care what other people thought of her or what she did. “Your opinion was of no concern to her,” Shillady read for Matthew Badger.
When sharing about Sarah, both parents mentioned the joy she brought to others, which was best exemplified several years ago when the five Badgers joined Madonna’s parents on a visit to a senior citizens' home for Christmas. They were all nervous, but Sarah did not let that stop her as she began handing out cookies to her hosts.
“She saw the goodness in all of us,” Shillady read about Sarah.
Investigators say the fire started when Michael Borcina, a friend of Madonna Badger, emptied embers from the fireplace into a bag and placed in the rear of the house. The magnitude of the blaze kept firefighters from reaching the victims. The investigation is ongoing.