Asheville, N.C. — The North Carolina grandparents of a 6-year-old Connecticut girl killed in the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School remembered her Wednesday as a curious, caring child with a strong sense of faith.
Caroline Phoebe Previdi died in the Dec. 14 massacre and was buried Dec. 19 funeral in Newtown, Conn. Her maternal grandparents, Patsy and Roger Johnson, recently returned home to Asheville after spending time in Connecticut with their daughter and son-in-law, Jeffrey and Sandy Previdi, and Caroline’s older brother, Walker.
“Caroline was our only granddaughter. She was a joy to us and to everyone she touched,” Roger Johnson said. “She was a happy, joyful, energetic 6-year-old. She loved everyone she met.”
He recalled how little Caroline gave her piggy bank to her priest last Christmas and asked him to use the money inside to help needy children who would not have a good holiday.
“Father Bob asked her how much she wanted to give,” he said. “She replied, ‘All of it. I have plenty.’ She intended to give her piggy bank again this Christmas.”
Her grandmother said Caroline loved the color pink, dancing, painting, swimming and soccer.
“She touched the hearts of many people in her life in six years, probably more than most people in a lifetime,” Patsy Johnson said.
The Johnson-Previdi family is close-knit, and the grandparents saw Carolina at least every two months. The Johnsons would fly to Connecticut, or the Previdis would fly to Asheville.
When the Johnsons heard the news of the shootings, they got on a plane two hours later.
“Our hearts are broken, but we know that we will miss her before and think wonderful thought of her,” Patsy Johnson said. “We know that she is giggling and loving Jesus in heaven.”
She said faith is helping the family get through the shock and loss.
“People without faith could never go through it,” Patsy Johnson said. “But if you have faith, you know she’s in a better place and that she will not have to go through the trials and tribulations of this world.”
The family is also getting support from strangers who have been reaching out to them in the wake of the tragedy.
“It's just been really amazing,” Patsy Johnson said. “As Caroline would say, ‘It’s amazin’!’”