Friends: Bashara was Selfless, Supportive
About 200 people gathered on the lawn of Grosse Pointe South High School Wednesday for an impromptu candlelight vigil to remember Grosse Pointe Park resident Jane Bashara.
About 12 hours after Jane Bashara was found dead in the backseat of her car by Detroit Police, her friends joined by their friends and many Grosse Pointe residents gathered on the lawn of Grosse Pointe South High School to remember her.
The candlelight vigil drew about 200 hundred people Wednesday night. It was organized by Grosse Pointe Park resident Amy Graham, who was struck by a comment thread on Facebook. First Park councilwoman Laurie Arora commented about lighting a candle in Bashara's memory. Another person responded, saying she wished everyone could be together--triggering Graham to organize the impromptu gathering.
Graham and Allison Baker, another Grosse Pointe Park resident and president of the Grosse Pointe South Mother's Club, posted a message on Facebook instructing people to come with candles and lighters.
Their posts were shared by others and the crowd descended upon the South lawn. Some were community members who came to show their support. Others were close friends.
Both women were close friends with Bashara, 56, whose death is under investigation by Detroit Police. An autopsy is scheduled for Thursday so the cause and manner of her death can be determined. Her husband, Bob, who attended the vigil, reported her missing late Tuesday and she was found early Wednesday with signs of trauma to her body, according to Grosse Pointe Park police.
"We are a close-knit community," Graham said. "I think it's important to show others that we are coming together."
Bashara was heavily involved in the community. She is a past president of the South Mother's Club, active at St. Michaels Episcopal Church and the youth group there and past president of the Band and Orchestra Boosters.
The couple was also given the Grosse Pointe Public School District's Golden Apple award for their level of community service, Baker said.
They also organized and began a concession stand for the Grosse Pointe Park Little League, which has become a major fundraiser for the organization, Graham said.
Graham described Bashara as "the most selfless person I know," explaining that they first met when Graham first worked in Grosse Pointe years ago. Bashara constantly encouraged Graham and she never had anything bad to say about anyone else, Graham and her husband said.
Bashara shared many laughs with Baker on the golf course--something Baker said she'll miss greatly.
Lois Valente, a Grosse Pointe Park resident and close friend of Bashara's, echoed the thoughts of Graham, describing Bashara as the most supportive person she knew. Bashara helped Valente during her recent election campaign for the Grosse Pointe Public School Board. Additionally, Valente said Bashara was also involved with the Family Center of Grosse Pointe-Harper Woods.
St. John's Church Reverend Fr. Steven J. Kelly attended the vigil Wednesday after some of her friends asked him to use social media to spread the word. Kelly also lived near Bashara in the Park and often saw her walking her dog. Pleased with the turnout, he said community is always supportive and this is yet another example. It is also an example of how social media helps spread information.
Many hugs were given during the vigil, where tears and laughter were shared as the attendees gathered in smaller groups sharing stories about Bashara. In addition to wondering what happened, her friends are questioning why something so awful would happen to someone who was so giving and generous.
Bashara is survived by her husband, Bob, and two adult children, Jessica and Rob. She is also survived by siblings and extended relatives.