Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Siebert Sisters: `They Were Both Free Spirits'

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Siebert Sisters: `They Were Both Free Spirits'

Article excerpt

In the Siebert home, the family's phrase of endearment was often scribbled on notes left on the kitchen table or taped to the refrigerator. "Fly Free" the notes said - shorthand for live, grow, test your wings.

On Friday, in a city park a few houses away, more than 800 mourners heard that phrase and remembered the sisters - Chrisha and Brenna Siebert - who died last week in the crash of TWA Flight 800.

"They were both free spirits who carved out a life for themselves, each wanting to fly free," said Gene Rooney, pastor of First United Methodist Church. "They were two daughters so different, yet so alike."

Chrisha, 28, was the artist who, as valedictorian of her high school class, had the intelligence to "ace any course."

Brenna, 25, was the outdoorsy type who dropped out of high school, adored animals and traveled to Alaska with her friends and her dog.

"Both had already developed a capacity, before 30 to see beyond the surface in people," Rooney said. "That's what it means to fly free: to be educated and try to grow. They knew how to cherish time. They didn't waste days and didn't waste hours. It's flying free."

The sisters were traveling to France with a cousin, Stephanie Gaetke of Kansas City, and her husband, Dan. They planned to visit the art museums in Paris.

The Boeing 747 they boarded in New York exploded off Long Island on July 17, killing all 230 people on board.

The Gaetkes' bodies have not been recovered.

On Friday at Memorial Park on the city's west side, where the sisters took long walks, friends and family filed into a pavilion for the hour-long ceremony. Vivaldi's "The Four Seasons" echoed into the rafters. It was one of Chrisha's favorites.

During a silent prayer, the only noise was the chatter of birds and a slight breeze that ruffled leaves. Towering trees cast a shadow over the park benches, where the overflow crowd sat. …

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