Instead of winding down from celebrating their son’s 30th birthday on Friday, Rose Relise Chery and her husband, Jean, were shopping for his casket on Sunday.
They wanted their beloved son, Jephthe Chery, to have a lavender and white casket. But that color combo was hard to find and they are considering white and gold.
But lavender was one of Chery’s favorite colors, and his mother said her son should have nothing but the best.
“No one can be like my friend,” Rose Chery said of her son. “You may find someone [similar], but no one will have the same heart like my son.”
Chery was struck and killed by gunfire shortly after 2 a.m. Thanksgiving Day outside Who’s On First, a bar near Fenway Park with a history of violent incidents. Boston police have said Chery was caught in crossfire. Three other men were injured.
A wake for Chery will be held from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday at St. Angela Catholic Church in Mattapan, said the Rev. Gustave Miracle. His funeral will be at St. Angela at 9 a.m. Saturday, followed by a gathering in the church basement.
Chery’s parents were married in St. Angela’s Church, where they have been members for 17 years. Their son served as an altar boy at the church and helped children in its religious education program, Miracle said.
His death has left the family searching for answers, he said.
“The family had a great hope in him because he was the oldest,” Miracle said. “He would provide the most for the family.”
At the Chery family home on Blake Street in Hyde Park, his parents met with Miracle on Sunday afternoon to discuss their son’s funeral and to share memories of him.
Rose Chery gushed about how her son would excel at anything he put his mind to: work, school, you name it.
She recalled when he was 15 years old and his father, now a taxi driver, had lost his job. Chery tried to get work at a Burger King, but he was too young.
“He said ‘Mom, my dad does not have a job; I need to help you,’ ” she said.
When he turned 16, he got the job.
Chery was 14 when he came to Boston from Haiti with his mother and two younger siblings to join his father.
He became a commuter rail conductor and worked 12 hours a day, seven days a week, Rose Chery said.
He wanted to become a locomotive engineer, and he planned to build a three-decker for his family in the large yard beside their two-story home.
“It was all about saving [money] to help his mother,” said longtime family friend Martine Chanel, who was helping the family with funeral arrangements Sunday. “He was the provider for them.”
Chanel said she will sing “Heaven” by Beyonce in French and English at the funeral. Other songs will include “Here I am,” and “Ave Maria.”
Longtime friend Charldyn Valcin, 29, launched a GoFundMe page to help raise funds for Chery’s funeral. As of Sunday, more than $7,000, had been raised.
His sister, Merveline, and other relatives came into the home Sunday evening with a large photo of Chery and dozens of lavender and white balloons.
Miracle and the Rev. Vincent Daily sat at a table inside the home and prayed with friends, family, and members of the congregation.
A photo of Chery in a black tuxedo was stuck in the corner of a frame that hung on the wall.
After the fatal shooting, Chery’s father had to go to the hospital because his blood sugar levels spiked. He had lost his best friend, he said.
Rose Chery said Police Commissioner William B. Evans and Mayor Martin J. Walsh came by her home Sunday to give their condolences, and she asked them why the bar was still open after the previous incidents of violence.
Who’s On First has had several violations for shootings, stabbings, and other attacks dating to 2001. Chery’s killing was the second shooting there since Sept. 6, when two women were shot and injured.
“Why they don’t close that place?” said Rose Chery, who said she told Evans there should be more police officers there. “My son should not have died.”