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New Canaan cousin describes Olivia Engel as 'effervescent and energetic'

Published 5:18 pm, Thursday, December 20, 2012
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Olivia Engel, 6, one of 20 schoolchildren killed in their classrooms in Newtown, "was always smiling, a very happy child, outgoing and effervescent," said her cousin, John Engel, a New Canaan resident.

Olivia, who will be buried on Friday, Dec. 21, was "energetic, she liked to dance and sing and be on stage in front of people," he said.

Her obituary describes her various activities, from dance to sports.

"On any given afternoon, one could just as easily find Olivia twirling in a pink tutu in dance class, developing her swing on the tennis court, kicking the winning soccer goal, drawing, painting, and gluing things in art class, or honing her inner songstress in her community musical theater class," the obituary reads.

Friends of Shannon and Brian Engel, Olivia's parents, created a Facebook page in memory of her, called Friends of the Engel Family Fund, https://www.facebook.com/FriendsOfTheEngelFamilyFund.

The money raised by the fund will "help the family cover Olivia's final expenses, as well as allow the family to take the time to grieve and love each other," according to its description on the site.

The page features several photographs of Olivia, each with comments from people all over the country, some numbering in the thousands.

"In the first day, the friends wanted to do something for the family," said John Engel, "and they realized the family couldn't handle several hundred or thousand visitors coming to see them and expressing support, so the friends organized this page so more people could participate.

"Several days later the family checked in and was very pleased with the messages on the Facebook page. They said they were very happy to see people talking about Olivia Rose by name, and so many mothers around the world identifying with their situation."

twoods@bcnnew.com; 203-972-4413; @Woods_NCNews