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Hundreds gather for S. Grand Prairie grad

St. Joseph's Vietnamese Catholic Church usually is decorated primarily in red and brown, but Saturday, the pink and blue flowers speckled throughout the chapel were for Lisa Tam Chung.

Family, friends and classmates gathered to say goodbye to the 18-year-old South Grand Prairie High School graduate who died Tuesday from accidental drowning after a catamaran she and some friends were on partially sank off Cancun, Mexico.

Guests at the packed service received pins adorned with pink and blue ribbons as they arrived -- pink because it was Chung's favorite color, and blue to symbolize her sapphire birthstone. Several family members and the pallbearers wore pink shirts in her honor.

Chung left a message to all in a booklet given to guests -- "Live, Laugh, Love."

Most of the Catholic service was in Chung's native Vietnamese, including an emotional eulogy delivered by a family member.

"I'm not going to translate what was just said because the meaning would get lost in translation," Chung's aunt Kim Dao told guests after the eulogy. "Thank you all for coming, and it was a blessing for all who laughed with Lisa."

Chung and a group of her classmates were on a post-high school graduation trip when the boat partially sank. She spent two days on a respirator in Mexico before being transferred to Methodist Dallas Medical Center, where she died Tuesday. The Dallas County medical examiner cited accidental drowning as the cause of death.

Investigators in Cancun determined that the accident was due to human error.

Chung, who planned to attend Baylor University this fall and study psychology, was a member of her high school's National Honor Society and yearbook staff.

Classmates voted her a class favorite three years in a row. To remember her, some painted "L" and small hearts on their car windows in her honor.

Several friends deemed her an "angel" on her Facebook page, recalling her adventurous and lively spirit.

"You will be missed deeply," wrote a lifelong friend and neighbor. "Me, along with your family and friends, love you, and always will."

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