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Community mourns tragic loss of sheriff's investigator
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Amid a bounty of tears and a few laughs, several hundreds of mourners gathered Thursday morning to bid a final goodbye to Mary Donahou, the Stanislaus County Sheriff's crime scene investigator who died in the line of duty.

Donahou was remembered by her family, friends and colleagues as a woman who brought love and laughter into the lives of all those that she met.

"She was a bright light to all who knew her," said friend and co-worker Debbie Allen in an emotional video tribute compiled by sheriff staff.

Donahou, 46, was killed in a tragic vehicular accident on Dec. 30 while processing evidence from a drive-by shooting in Hughson. The accident investigation remains open, though alcohol and drugs were not considered a factor, according to the California Highway Patrol.

Donahou's death was just one day after her son Jake's 12th birthday.

Donahou's service, held at Calvary Temple Worship Center in Modesto and Lakewood Memorial Park, drew in a large contingency of law enforcement throughout Stanislaus County and the surrounding areas.

Stanislaus County Sheriff Adam Christianson delivered one of the eulogies for Donahou, recalling her as a "shining example of public service" and as a woman who did her job with bravery, commitment and the utmost level of excellence.

"Mary wore her badge with pride," Christianson said.

Donahou's niece, Marlo Rice, echoed the remembrances of many, by recalling her aunt as a woman that could find humor in the mundane and made others laugh with ease.

But the fond memories of a woman whose "quick wit and humor could make a grown man blush," were not enough to stave off the tears from the tragic loss.

At the close of the church service the uniformed personnel in attendance ceremonially filed past the flag-draped casket, bringing many to tears and reminding all of the sacrifice made by those manning the front lines of public safety.

"Mary was a living example of the protect and serve motto," Christianson said.