Today, the two Northville students and their mother, killed last week in their Novi home, will be laid to rest in Brighton.
The funeral for the Schons boys – Tynan, 6, and Camden, 4, – will be held at 11 a.m. at Brighton’s First Presbyterian Church. Their mother, Jennifer Woodard Schons, 38, will be buried with them, in the town where she attended high school and where her family still lives.
Martina Stone will be among the friends and family attending the funeral. She said when Schons moved in across the street from her, on Applebrooke Drive in Novi, they were a "breath of fresh air."
In fact, she said, they were "the perfect neighbors."
Stone's 14-year-old daughter Carly babysat for Tynan and Camden.
"They were really good kids," Stone said.
On the the Keehn Funeral Home Web site Stone wrote that her daughter will "miss laughing along with them as she tickled them."
On Friday, police came upon a tragic murder scene at the Schons' home. Officials said they believe that the boys’ father, Mark Schons, killed the boys by suffocation and stabbed their mother to death. He was later found dead in his GMC Acadia at a parking lot in South Lyon, an apparent suicide after inhaling the fumes of a charcoal grill leading to carbon monoxide poisoning.
The news was devastating for students and staff at Thornton Creek Elementary School, where both the Schons boys were students. Tynan was a first grader, just weeks away from his Valentine’s Day birthday, and Camden was in preschool.
The students were formally made aware of the deaths by staff on Monday.
“Teachers began the day acknowledging that most were aware that a tragedy occurred in our community on Friday. We stated that two students in our school died,” Principal Sharon Irvine said in an email to the school community. “We did not discuss the deaths of parents, nor did we mention that our students had been killed. We did, however, emphasize some students knew a lot about what happened, and some knew only a little. Consequently, we set the boundary of appropriate conversation early."
“Many students took the opportunity to write to extended family members. We will keep the invitation to express feelings through drawing or writing indefinitely,” she wrote.
Assistant superintendent Mary Kay Gallagher said that the district would be offering parent workshops to help them assist their children through this shock.
“What they’re doing as school community right now is supporting parents and staff,” Gallagher said. “With a loss of this kind, it lingers.”
She said that the school is planning a memorial of some kind but that it would happen later in the school year.
“We need to allow time and space to pass,” Gallagher said. “It will likely happen in the spring, they’re collecting ideas right now.”
As much as the loss of Tynan and Camden has affected the students of Thornton Creek, so has it profoundly affected the adults that knew them.
“This is very difficult for the staff as well,” Gallagher said. “The social work support that’s available for children is also available for staff.”
School staff from throughout the district have sent their condolences to the school community at Thornton Creek. Moraine Elementary, for instance, sent a fruit basket, she said.
“It’s the nature of the loss, all of us are grappling with,” she said. “Something like this touches all of us.”
Brighton Local Editor Wensdy VonBuskirk contributed to this report.