The pews in the chapel of First Presbyterian Church of Burlingame were filled to capacity with mourners, and well-wishers spilled into ancillary rooms of the church to remember in a memorial service tonight three members of a family who perished in this month’s explosion and fire in San Bruno.
Three generations of the Bullis family were among those killed when a gas pipeline exploded and set fire to the Cestmoor Canyon neighborhood on Sept. 9.
The eldest, Lavonne Bullis, turned 82 the day before she died. Her son Greg Bullis, 50, and his son Will Bullis, 17, also died at their home on Claremont Drive.
The service was a celebration of the lives of all three, who were eulogized by family, friends, clergy, and one of Will’s teachers, Melissa Mayer.
Mayer spoke of how the teen shared, through a class assignment, insight into how he dealt with the pain he endured every day due to an unspecified leg injury that caused him to use a cane.
Will was also remembered for his love of cooking. He had aspirations of becoming a chef one day and opening a restaurant.
His friend and neighbor, Kody Sylvester, said that when he met Will, when they were both very young, Will was already playing with a toy kitchen.
Greg Bullis also lived every day in pain, according to his friend, George Lynch, who spoke about several vertebrae in Greg’s back and neck that were collapsed due to a work injury he suffered years ago.
Lynch recalled how Greg was a prankster who lived by the rule that any practical joke must never hurt anyone–and that the prankster should never confess to being the one who pulled the practical joke.
He also loved to tell jokes and was a master at it, Lynch said.
Greg was fondly remembered by his daughter, Janine Bullis, who said her father was patient and fun-loving, and would do anything for her.
He allowed her to put ribbons in his hair, and she laughed as she recalled how one time, he walked through a local mall before he realized he forgot to pull one of the ribbons out.
Greg was also given military honors at the memorial due to his military service.
Lavonne Bullis was remembered by her sister, daughter and granddaughter as the matriarch of the family–a kind, gentle woman who was patient.
She was a nurse, an elder and a deacon in her church.
Her sister, Marian Clemens, said Lavonne Bullis was a leader.
She recalled one time when they were very young and her sister showed her and some friends how to climb a tree. She knew the best place to hide in the elderberry tree, Clemens said.
The service ended with taps and a presentation of the flag.
Anne Ward Ernst, Bay City News