|Death: ||Apr. 7, 2004|
We were going to eat the whole time she was here," said Ilene "Patricia" Avery, her mother, describing the expected celebration. "Everyone was going to bring their favorite dish and we were all going to eat."
Avery said her daughter had especially missed her aunt's special dish, macaroni and cheese. "There's no place like home," she said, holding back tears.
Avery-Felder, a cook in the Army's Stryker Brigrade, died last week from injuries sustained when a military truck hit a homemade bomb device in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul.
She was the first member of the armed services from Bridgeport to die in Iraq and the first woman from Connecticut to perish in the conflict.
Family members and friends called her a tough, determined and enthusiastic person, who also was kind-hearted and funny. She came from a large family.
The 22-year-old East End native will be remembered Thursday with a funeral at Mount Aery Baptist Church. She will be buried at Bridgeport's Lakeview Cemetery.
"She's coming home," Ilene Avery said at a family press conference organized by the military last week, explaining her daughter would be buried in the city where she was born and raised.
The fallen soldier's husband, Army Spc. Adrian Felder, also attended the press conference. He said his wife had a great sense of humor and was fun to be around.
"I'm so sad it happened," the South Carolina native said. "She's in a better place."
The two had met in the military when stationed together at Fort Lewis in Washington state. A mutual friend told Felder about an "attractive" cook on the base.
He asked her out on a date and she accepted, and they went to see a movie together. "From there our relationship grew," Felder said.
They were married in December 2002 in Washington, and she was sent to Iraq last November. Despite being separated by thousands of miles, they stayed in frequent contact by writing and phoning as often as possible.
Avery-Felder also frequently sent e-mails to her family in Bridgeport and would call them from Iraq as well.
"We were always going to be proud of her," Avery said of her daughter. "We're all proud of her."
Created by: Cindy
Record added: Nov 16, 2004
Find A Grave Memorial# 9912109