Evangeline Supena Contillo was caring and compassionate even as a child. Those were words heard often Wednesday night as family and friends gathered on the eve of Contillo's funeral to mourn the woman who died by violence a week earlier.
The eldest of three siblings, Contillo often took care of her brothers and cousins while growing up on High Street in Oakland.
Her love and compassion for others carried into her adulthood, and these are the characteristics her father, Mario Contillo, remembers when he thinks of the last time he talked with his only daughter.
"I told her, 'I'm OK,' and she said, 'Daddy, are you sure?'" Mario Contillo recalled about his daughter, who called frequently to check on his health. "She was very kind and loving with her brothers. She was very sweet.
"I'm going to miss her. It's sad for me to say," he said. His voice shook as he looked toward his daughter's casket.
Close to 100 family members and friends gathered for a private viewing Wednesday night to remember the life of a woman taken by violence at age 25.
Crying echoed periodically inside the Colonial Chapel in Oakland as family and friends bowed their heads in prayer.
"I can't do this," a cousin said as she walked away from the white coffin.
"She will forever remain in our hearts. She's beautiful inside and out," said Evangeline's younger brother, Jomar Contillo.
Kind, sweet and loving were other words heard often at the viewing.
Adrianna Domdoma, Evangeline's niece, thanked everyone who attended.
"Vange was like a big sister to me. To see her go like this is heartbreaking," said Domdoma as she tried to hold back tears. "It hurts because she's such a great person. She has a caring heart. She was always there for everyone. She knew how to make you smile. She knew how to make jokes. …She was the most fun, loving person you could know."
Born in the Philippines and raised in Oakland, Evangeline Contillo was known as a quiet, well-mannered child. She moved to Oakland with her family at the age of 8.
Cousin Carolyn Rodriguez said that even as child, Evangeline Contillo was willing to help the family by babysitting.
"She was always good. That's the only word I can say about my cousin," Rodriguez said. "She always respected me and she loved my kids."
Rodriguez said that whenever she thinks of her cousin, she remembers how she loved to do hair.
And that was the memory Francesca Fortuna, Rodriguez's daughter, had of her aunt.
"I remember when she used to live with us and in preschool, she would braid my hair, she would always just fix my hair," Fortuna said. "I haven't seen her for a long time. I just want to say, I love you Auntie Vangie, and I miss you," she said.
Family said Evangeline Contillo was attending school in Fremont and studying to be a pharmacy technician. She had been living in Newark for at least five years, according to her mother.
Evangeline Contillo will be buried in Livermore today after a funeral in Oakland. She is survived by her parents, Mario and Josephine Contillo, brothers Jomar and Mark Contillo, and her two sons, ages 3 and 5.
Wednesday's gathering came exactly one week after Evangeline Contillo on the 36600 block of Cherry Street. Her boyfriend, Jason Otis Monroe, 32, of Newark has been charged with murder.