Basco was overwhelmed by the support he received when thousands showed up for his wife's funeral. People traveled from across the country to offer their condolences.
On August 3, 61-year-old Antonio Basco lost his beloved wife in the El Paso mass shooting in Texas, US. Unfortunately, 63-year-old Margie Reckard was the only family he had left in this world and after her death, he was all alone. Because he had no relatives to invite to the funeral services, Basco decided to invite the whole community, making it a public ceremony. Surprisingly thousands of strangers showed up to bid her goodbye. According to The Guardian, the attendees had to wait for more than two hours in the 100F (38C) weather last Friday, just so they could be there for the lonely old man.
The funeral ceremonies were supposed to be held at Perches Funeral Home but due to the unanticipated rise in the attendees, the venue was shifted to La Paz Faith Memorial & Spiritual Center in order to accommodate the entire crowd. Several musicians and vocalists, including a mariachi band, voluntarily played at the service. The band walked through the crowd singing Amor Eterno, the 1984 ballad by the late Juan Gabriel that has now become an anthem for El Paso residents following the devastating shooting. While some sang along, others couldn't help but tear up. People showered the widowed man with condolences and orders of flowers.
The overwhelming number of flowers, estimated to be more than 1,000 arrangements, came from all over the world to honor Margie Reckard, one of the 22 victims of the Walmart shooting in El Paso. https://t.co/0S8b8rrie0— 8News WRIC Richmond (@8NEWS) August 19, 2019
"He felt like he was going to kind of just be by himself with this whole thing, but it’s not so," said Perches Funeral Homes director, Harrison Johnson of Basco. Overwhelmed by the response to his invitation Basco said, "I love y’all, man," before breaking down. Margie's son from another marriage, Dean Reckard, was among thousands who attended the memorial. He shared how his mother "loved everyone regardless of color, religion or politics." Furthermore, he added, "Everywhere I look, I just see all these flowers. I don't think I've ever seen this many flowers." Her grandson, Tyler said, "People were telling me they came from different faiths, different cities. It's just incredible how much love and support every single one of you has shown."
This is truly uplifting - My God the humanity of it - BBC News - El Paso shooting: Man shocked as hundreds attend wife's funeral https://t.co/KzM7qFvLDE— D. BOHAN (@NoPasaranDublin) August 17, 2019
There were several people in the crowd who had traveled quite a distance just so they could pay their respects. Angelique Tadeo, a resident of Tucson, Arizona drove four hours along with her husband and three-year-old granddaughter to attend the beautiful memorial. Jordan Ballard from Los Angeles was another person who immediately bought a plane ticket for Texas after learning that one of the victims of the El Paso massacre had only a few relatives."I arrived here this morning," said 38-year-old Ballard. "His story moved me." Similarly, Hala Hijazi too read about the devastating loss of the 61-year-old and traveled all the way from San Franciso to offer her condolences. "It pierced into my heart and soul and made me book a flight to El Paso. We need to show when America is in pain, we are all in pain," said Hijazi.
Antonio Basco and his wife, Margie Reckard met 22 years ago and quickly became inseparable. She became the love of his life and his only living relative, he said. Hundreds are expected to attend Reckard's visitation on Friday evening because the funeral... https://t.co/rBgndpppgw— Ashleigh Ricciarelli (@MrsVTInternat15) August 15, 2019
Prior to the ceremony, Basco was seen pushing a cart full of pink and red roses, gallons of water, and a wooden cross towards the memorial to honor his wife and the other victims of the massacre according to CNN. "I can't stay away from here. All I know is that my wife never hurt someone," Basco told the outlet. The mourning husband met his wife 22 years ago and ever since then regarded Reckard as the love of his life. Days following the massacre, Basco spent hours at the make-shift memorial behind Walmart and even spent a night there. A chaplain for Disaster and Victim Services International, Tony Dickey shared how several strangers offered the man words of support and hugs after seeing him religiously praying for her.
#ElPasoStrong :” Thousands mourn El Paso victim Margie Reckard after partner's appeal#AntonioBasco •• ‘felt like he was by himself’, pastor says— The Daily Outsider (@ordinaryfaces) August 17, 2019
Facebook appeal draws strangers to ceremony...” pic.twitter.com/W81Js3upsp
"He was basically just mumbling to himself that he had no one anymore, that she was everything he had. He didn't know what he was going to do. He kept repeating that he was going to be so alone now," said Dickey of the day he first met Basco. Assuring the elderly man that he's not alone in his sadness, Dickey said, "No, they are your family. El Paso is now your family." Sharing the magnificent bond he shared with his partner, who began battling Parkinson's disease, Basco said, "I never felt anything like that in my life. Every second, every breath... has been a wonderful life," further adding, "We never went to bed mad at each other without saying goodnight or I'm sorry. We planned on living together and dying together."
My thoughts on FB:— 4seasons Pix 💙 (@4seasonspix) August 19, 2019
... It's these beautiful acts of kindness and outpour of love for a stranger that remind me what a wonderful community social media can be 💞#ElPasoStrong #MargieReckard #AntonioBasco #PerchesFuneralHome #ActOfKindness #ElPasoWalmartShooting #ElPasoTexas pic.twitter.com/jfvF2wG4hC
Describing his late wife as an angel, the elderly man wished for one thing only. "I don't need anything," he said adding, "I need her and I keep begging her to come back but I know it's impossible." Carlos Armendáriz, a local broadcast journalist chanced upon Basco one fine day. After hearing his story,, he posted his picture on social media which received an enormous amount of attention. Soon Armendáriz decided to set up a GoFundMe page for him. "My intention was that people can help him as much as they can," he said. He then helped Basco open a bank account in order to receive the donations. "If it wasn't for all of these people, I don't know how I would make it," said the elderly man.
Thousands of people waiting in line to attend the funeral of El Paso shooting victim Margie Reckard. She and her mourning husband didn't have to "accomplish" anything.— Patti A. (@PauseListnCount) August 19, 2019
You'll never have a line of people waiting to honor you like this. At least not without expecting payment. pic.twitter.com/8BSY2eruFP
According to BBC News, the funeral home director, Harrison B Johnson decided to cover the complete cost of the funeral. "We have had a tremendous outpouring of support after we shared the post. It is our privilege to honor and serve the community to try and make that burden lighter after a tragedy that has devastated our community. We just wanted to do our part to help in some small way," said Johnson, adding that Reckard was "his soul mate, his best friend."