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More than one thousand people packed a church today in San Francisco’s fog-enveloped Sunset District to mourn a mother and daughter who died in a massive explosion and fire in San Bruno on Sept. 9.

Jacqueline Greig, 44, and her daughter Janessa Greig, 13, died after a natural gas pipeline exploded at about 6:15 p.m. and sent flames raging through their San Bruno neighborhood.

Photo collages of the smiling mother and daughter stood in front of the church as hundreds of mourners dabbed their eyes and listened to heartfelt words from the surviving family members.

“In a lot of ways, we lost a little bit of ours hearts and souls last week,” said Suzuette Cabatu, Janessa’s aunt and Jacqueline’s sister-in-law.

A singing eight-piece Mariachi band with violins and trumpets echoed through the church as both victims’ caskets were marched out the front door for burial.

“It’s hard for us to believe that they’re gone,” St. Cecilia School principal Sister Marilyn Miller said Tuesday.

Students from Janessa’s school lined the aisles today to mourn their classmate’s passing as attendees filed through the exits.

The school tennis team, which Janessa’s older sister, 16-year-old Gabriela, plays on, also joined the teenagers standing in the aisles.

Janessa was a student body president at her school and wrote about this year’s school theme, “Don’t Stop Believing,” church pastor Msgr. Michael Harriman said.

“If I get a grade I’m unhappy with, then I don’t decide to stop trying, but instead study more, try harder, and do what it takes to do better the next time,” Harriman said as he recited Janessa’s writing.

Jacqueline Greig worked for the California Public Utilities Commission for more than 20 years. She recently fulfilled a lifelong dream of seeing Italy with her husband, James Greig, on their 19th wedding anniversary vacation, according to a funeral program.

Classes were canceled at St. Cecilia School so the community could attend today’s mass, which was held at 11 a.m. at St. Cecilia Catholic Church on 17th Avenue and Vicente Street.

A memorial fund has been set up for the Greig family at Bank of the West. Donations can be made in person at any Bank of the West branch or by mailing them to the Greig Family Memorial Fund, Bank of the West, 295 Bush St., San Francisco, Calif. 94104.

Saul Sugarman, Bay City News

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