Ambassador Chris Stevens, who was killed during a Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, was interred to his final resting place Friday morning at a cemetery in Grass Valley — the city where he was born.
Bathed in sunshine amid the bright autumn colors of the Sierra Nevada foothills, nearly 30 family members and close friends gathered at a family plot to bid farewell to the slain emissary, said Ellen Gibson, a relative and local resident.
“It was short, it was lovely and very private, and he was surrounded by his loved ones,” Gibson said. “It was absolutely wonderful.”
Friday’s burial was the second observance of the ambassador’s passing. A highly publicized memorial for Stevens took place Oct. 16 under the dome at San Francisco City Hall where family members and government officials mourned his passing. Another service will take place later this fall in Washington, D.C., according to a memorial website set up by his family.
The California native reportedly died during an attack on the Benghazi consulate on the 11th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Also killed in the consulate attack were a State Department computer expert and two security agents who were former Navy SEALs.
The events surrounding Stevens’ death are at the heart of ongoing congressional hearings in the nation’s capital. But in Grass Valley, Friday was not a day focused on the controversy.
“It was for his family to say goodbye,” Gibson said. “That’s what it was about.”…
…“In many ways, he never left Nevada County or the (Sierra),” said Jan Stevens. “I think he intended to come back some day.”
An inmate work crew from the Wayne Crown Correctional Facility outside Nevada City attended to the Grass Valley cemetery prior to Friday’s interment, said Nevada County Sheriff Keith Royal.
“We were so glad to be able to help out,” Royal said. “It was a wonderful opportunity to give back to the family.”
The Daughters of the American Revolution also provided flowers to the ceremony.
“We are extremely grateful for their contributions,” said Jan Stevens of both agencies.
The complete obituary is at The Union of Western Nevada County of California.