The sun had just set. Darkness fell on Sea Bright beach Sunday night as hundreds of friends, family, loved ones of 19-year-old Maddy Massabni made their way to a spot on the beach where they quietly brought light … candlelight and memories of the light that was known to embody the recent Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School (RFH) graduate’s spirit.
Maddy passed away on March 30 “following an unexpected and rare bout with septic shock,” her obituary prepared by family said, adding that Maddy was “given her angel wings.”
The soft sound of the surf seemed to cradle those who loved the Rumson girl with the gift of an infectious dimpled grin as they huddled somberly in her memory. They spoke of her with sniffles and smiles. They bowed their heads. They reminisced.
They remembered a gentle, sweet soul … a girl they knew as someone whose “beautiful smile melted the hearts of those who knew and loved her” … whose “sense of humor could always make people laugh,” her obituary said.
They remembered a twinkly-eyed teenager who “lived life to the fullest,” loved basking in the sun at that beach with her buddies, cheerleading, and managing the track team.
“The sunshine of her parent’s eyes,” as her loved ones called her in her obituary, “Madalyn’s life would seem too short to many, but those who were touched by her understood that the quality of existence far exceeds the quantity of time in which one lives.
“With Madalyn’s passing we remind others that her life is one to be celebrated,” it added. “Although we will miss her dearly every day she will forever remain in our hearts. Throughout her life we were able to create wonderful memories and it has been an honor and a privilege to be the parents and brother of this beautiful, loving, amazing and caring young woman.”
Notes of sympathy flooded Facebook in the days following Maddy’s death.
Val’s, where she worked, posted this: “We are heartbroken at Vals. One of the kids that worked for us passed away today at 19. Suddenly tragically unbelievable. She was just starting her life. We will miss her beautiful smile and generous spirit. ‘My tears don’t flow like rivers just a mist that comes and goes and I feel a coldness start to grow deep within my soul’ … Hug your kids a little tighter tonight.”
The Fair Haven Fire Department sent out a note of condolence.
Classmates of Maddy’s mother, Dawn Tilton Massabni, an RFH graduate, hold her in their hearts, hundreds of notes expressed.
Her Uncle Harvey (Tilton), also a Rumson resident, started a gofundme page.
Maddy will be sorely missed, no doubt. Not forgotten.
In addition to her many friends, Maddy is survived by: her loving mom and dad, Dawn and George Massabni III; brother, George Massabni IV; paternal grandparent, Nan Massabni; and maternal grandparents Geraldine and Harvey Tilton; and many loving aunts, uncles and cousins.
Her service will take place on Tuesday, April 4, from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m. at Thompson Memorial Home, 310 Broad St. Red Bank, NJ. There will be a funeral service on Wednesday, April 5 at 10 a.m. at Westminster Presbyterian Church, 94 Tindall Rd. Middletown, NJ followed by burial at Mount Olivet Cemetery, 100 Chapel Hill Rd., Red Bank.
To Maddy’s loved ones: Mom, Dawn, who we know, dad, George, and all …
We, at Rumson-Fair Haven Retrospect, offer our heartfelt condolences. We cannot express adequately how deeply sorry we are for your loss. Thank you for bringing her into this world to brighten so many lives in such a short time. We see and hear what a gift Maddy was to so many.
Rest in peace, Maddy. You are remembered.
May the candles keep burning … May her light shine on …
— Elaine Van Develde