Thousands Attend Funeral for Coach Ed Thomas

NFL players , from left, Casey Wiegman, Aaron Kampman, Jared DeVries, and Brad Meester carry the casket of Ed Thomas into the First Congregational Church in Parkersburg on Monday morning, June 29, 2009, for the funeral of Thomas, head football coach of Aplington-Parkersburg High School, who was shot and killed by a former football player last week. (Mary Mathis for The Gazette)

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By Becky Ogann

PARKERSBURG (AP) - Thousands of mourners have filled a Parkersburg church and nearby community center for the funeral of a beloved high school football coach who was shot and killed here last week.

A line of mourners stretched around the corner of First Congregational Church as people waited to get inside for the 10:30 a.m. Monday funeral for Ed Thomas.

Many others were filling up a community center, where a remote broadcast of the service is available, and audio is being piped out to a parking lot.

In addition to local mourners, members of football teams wearing jerseys from high schools across the state are attending.

Thomas was killed at Parkersburg-Aplington High School's weight room Wednesday. Police charged 24-year-old Mark Becker with first-degree murder.
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