David Aureliano's funeral Monday never should have been, the Rev. Kristina Hansen said.
With pews in the sanctuary of St. Paul's United Methodist Church packed, and a dozen more mourners standing in the back, Hansen said of David, 12, who died in a July Fourth boating accident that killed two other children, "No parent should have to bury their child."
David's father, Greg Aureliano, sobbed as he remembered his son.
"If I had the worst day at work, I'd walk through the door, and that smile would wash away everything," he told mourners.
Amid tears, Hansen forged on and the service proceeded with a mix of sobs and laughs.
David drowned when the boat he was on capsized in Oyster Bay. Also killed were his cousin Harlie Treanor, 11, and friend Victoria Gaines, 7. Their funerals are Tuesday. Recovery of the boat is planned for Tuesday. An investigation continues.
Family and friends remembered David as a boy who overcame health challenges that doctors warned might diminish his quality of life. Hansen said David was not defined by his condition.
"This was not who David was," she said. "David faced every challenge with courage."
Family members read from 1 Corinthians 13:4. One young relative who spoke broke down crying when she started reading, "Love is patient, love is kind."
David's older brother, Rocco Aureliano, standing next to his parents, eulogized him. David, he said, "was a force to be reckoned with."
"He was doing all the things we were told he'd never be able to do," Rocco said. "He loved his whole family."
Others remembered that David had a wry sense of humor. He was an avid fan of Disney movies, and, at times, family members recalled, he would play tunes from the films -- for what felt like forever -- throughout the house. The songs would be stuck in their heads. Rocco said his brother got a kick out of it.
"David had a big presence for a little boy," Hansen said.
After Rocco spoke, churchgoers stood up and remembered David, sharing memories, mostly through tears.
"It is just so sad," one of David's cousins, Carol Conforti, 43, of East Northport, said after the service. "It's so touching how close the family is."
Said Conforti's husband, Vito DeFeo, 50, "It is a sad time for the family, but they are holding together very well."