A widely known Omahan remembers holding her cousin’s grandchild as an infant — Avielle Richman, a 6-year-old who died in Friday’s massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.
“Her picture looks just like Rose did when she was a girl,” said a grieving Elaine Jabenis, longtime Omaha community-theater actress. “Curly hair and big eyes.”
Avielle’s grandmother grew up in Omaha as Rose Lagman, daughter of Fannie and Carl Lagman, who owned a hardware store. Rose danced in the first production of the Omaha Community Playhouse in its current building at 6915 Cass St., and appeared in student productions at Central High School and Omaha University.
In 1965, she married Ron Richman. (He is not related to the old Richman-Gordman store family.) The couple lived in Boulder, Colo., and then Tucson, Ariz., but often visited Omaha.
Avielle, daughter of Jeremy and Jennifer Richman, was born on Oct. 17, 2006, and Jabenis got to hold her while visiting Tucson. Rose Richman died five months later at age 69.
Avielle, known as “Avie,” moved with her parents last year from the San Diego area to Connecticut.
Jabenis said she has spoken by phone the past few days with Ron Richman, who flew to Connecticut and said the sadness there is indescribable, “grim beyond grim.”
She said her late cousin was a free spirit who wore flowers in her hair and lived life to the fullest. “I hate to say it, but I’m glad she is not here for this.”
Contact the writer: 402-444-1132, email@example.com