Heartfelt Funeral for Former Airman

Hundreds pay respects to the Aliso Viejo man who took his own life.

The media portrayal of Adam Razani earlier this week indicated a troubled man who used Facebook to foreshadow his death.

But inside Mission Hills Church on Saturday morning, friends and family painted a different picture.

Good-humored, caring, compassionate, loyal and loving. All those qualities came to light in anecdotes from emotional friends and family.

Earlier in the week, Razani’s set off a manhunt in Trabuco Canyon. An Orange County sheriff's deputy later discovered him with a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

If Razani felt alone or troubled, it would have been hard to notice among the more than 200 people who attended his funeral in Mission Viejo.

Razani, 25, lay in a closed casket draped with an American flag that was later given to his parents at El Toro Memorial Park by a colleague in the U.S. Air Force.

Razani had recently finished a tour in Afghanistan and was readjusting to civilian life.

He was the oldest of two children, a son and a daughter, born to Mike and Manzar Razani of Aliso Viejo.

Mona Razani took the pulpit and was reduced to tears almost immediately after introducing herself: “I’m Adam’s little sister.” Her father went to her side and placed a hand on her as she composed herself and spoke from prepared notes and her heart.

“He always made people laugh; he had an internal sweet soul,” Mona said. “Adam put our needs before his own.”

She talked about her brother’s love for animals and music, and his deep devotion to friends and family. She was not alone.

“Adam was the glue to our little crew, making sure everyone stuck together and was really happy,” said Bryan Santana, who was for awhile Razani’s supervisor in the Air Force.

Espe Cantlay, who was an administrator at Aliso Niguel High, where Razani graduated in 2005, addressed his parents directly: “You raised a beautiful son, kind and compassionate, a man who served his country … and you should be so proud of the impact he had in his life.”

Before joining the Air Force, Razani graduated from Saddleback College in 2008.

Between speakers, videos of Razani playing guitar or dancing with fellow airmen were shown, along with photos of him and family.

On either side of the casket were images of Razani, and amid tall flower arrangements of white lilies and roses were his electric guitar and keyboard.

Although a number of people spoke inside the church during an open mike period, the fond recollections continued afterward.

“My fondest memory about Adam was when were walking to the movie theaters and all of a sudden he exploded in laughter and funny noises and ran away from us,” said friend Nick Harris. “We would run after him and try to catch him, but he was always too fast for us.”

The morning service and afternoon burial were difficult for Razani’s mother, who clutched the dark blue blue casket at the gravesite.

“His mother told me the other night that she loved Adam more than herself,” said Maryam Emamian, Razani’s aunt. “Having Adam in her life taught her how to love a true love.”

Amanda LaRosa September 02, 2012 at 05:00 PM
Ms. Wattles' comment is spot on. Shame on all.
Ronda Jones September 02, 2012 at 05:14 PM
Where to begin? How about the disgraceful and disrespectful manner your publication has continued to treat this young man's tragic death. Why scream "suicide" in every headline and first paragraph? Why film sobbing parents? You are disgusting.
Martin Henderson (Editor) September 02, 2012 at 05:18 PM
I believe they were photographing for the family to create a historical record of the event. I was surprised too, but they were so close, had they been unwanted I'm sure they would have been told to show some discretion or to cease (O'Connor Mortuary would have told them not to take video if the family had requested it). The family made a point of remaining for the actual burial of the casket as well, which I found to be surprising. What you (or I) might have found offensive they might have found important for posterity.
Kathryn September 02, 2012 at 05:31 PM
Thank you so much to Adam and the family for their service to our country. Don't know if his was a casuality of war, but it does remind us that many or our young troops are suffering tremendously on their return home. My wish is that we bring all these troops home and end this. I am so sorry for your loss.
Hamed Yarandi September 02, 2012 at 08:26 PM
we are so sorry for your loss...
Karen September 02, 2012 at 08:29 PM
I agree Martin. This is America, where freedom should reign. How families choose to conduct their mourning, should be up to them. I thought your piece was very well done, and if it makes one person stop and think about the pain left behind and ask for help in desperate times, then worth however uncomfortable it makes others feel.
Joe Promedio September 02, 2012 at 10:47 PM
My heart and prayers go out to the family and friends during this time of loss. As a parent I couldn't imagine how they must feel.
Mona Razani September 02, 2012 at 10:53 PM
I have not seen the video. No one requested a video. I am Adams sister. I am at the gravesite so I cannot view but I will when I'm home.
Mona Razani September 02, 2012 at 11:03 PM
The video needs to be removed immediately. Who the hell are you people coming to my brothers funeral and then taping it? And then posting it?
Mona Razani September 02, 2012 at 11:49 PM
Mona Razani September 02, 2012 at 11:50 PM
Never Do It! Stop Suicide! September 03, 2012 at 12:27 AM
My heart and prayers go out to the Razani Family. 13 years ago I Iost my brother to suicide. Since then I been in walking and speaking about depression. This is a disease just like many others. This young man did not sign up for this war. We are losing one of our Armed Forces a day to suicide. This coming year I will be walking from coast to coast to bring awareness of suicide in the military. Though you can not be part of this walk you can still join me in a prayer and voice for this young man. God Bless,
Martin Henderson (Editor) September 03, 2012 at 01:22 AM
Patch has covered the unfortunate passing of Adam Razani as a news event, which included his public funeral on Sept. 1. Patch was at all times respectful of the Razani family, friends and the event, and was unobtrusive, exercising discretion both inside the church and at the gravesite. Patch at all times kept a respectful distance unlike others who took video with their camera phones or other recording equipment. At no time did O’Connor Mortuary, which oversaw the event, advise that video or photos should not be taken (they have at other events). The posted video—which could not be downloaded by the public—conveyed the emotions of the event and serves as a historical record, and provides an opportunity for those who could not attend to experience a part of the graveside service; Adam had friends worldwide who could not be in attendance. Patch is the one media source that found Adam’s story important enough to cover. Patch is within its right to leave the video on the site, but has electively chosen to remove it at the request of the family—in particular Adam’s sister, Mona. It’s not Patch’s intent to add to the grief already felt by the family, but merely to document the tragedy for the many who have an interest in the Razani story or who could not be in attendance. ~ Martin Henderson
Heather Pritchard September 03, 2012 at 02:14 AM
Mr. Henderson, The family did not know you were filming or taking photos or they would have asked you to stop. They were actually too grief stricken to worry about this obvious invasion of their privacy! The family would like you to also remove the photos and I've been asked to please have you do so. This has been a very trying time for them and I don't see how these photos of a very personal and painful time in their life being posted on this site enhances the story in the least. Please, honor their wishes and remove the gravesite photos. It is just beyond the pale that you don't see why this is inappropriate. It is not a question of whether you have the right to do so, but if it is the RIGHT thing to do. They family is asking that you remove them immediately, not just the video but the photos.
Derek Reeve September 03, 2012 at 02:44 AM
Come on Martin. You're surprised by the taking of pictures then own up it was Patch. Adam was not a public figure. Just do the right thing and remove the pictures.
Stu Fox September 03, 2012 at 03:16 AM
Martin, I attended the services, as a long time friend of the family. I too do not understand what "news worthiness" it is, to share the grief and sorrow that family and friends struggle with the passing of a loved one. Please honor Mona's request and remove the service photos. Adam was a friend of many and his memories should be remembered, not photos of his funeral. We all loved Adam for his kindness towards others and maybe you could learn from him as well.
Shripathi Kamath September 03, 2012 at 03:49 AM
Martin, I respect you as a journalist, and not just from your days here. That was a VERY RESPECTFUL article, and you covered with the utter solemness such a occasion demanded. Please do the right thing, and exercise your journalistic integrity. It is YOUR decision to report the news, and taking the video down perhaps was complying with of a respectful request. There is no reason to take down the photos. The problem with today's media is that they are corporate-owned, or politician-owned. You can be different. This is news, take them down only if *you* feel they are not necessary.
Shripathi Kamath September 03, 2012 at 03:52 AM
"Just do the right thing and remove the pictures." This coming from a hate-mongering politician who announced that he is naming his dog Mohammed when no one asked, and shamelessly plagiarized literature from various sites claiming that not everyone has an original idea, and then refusing to acknowledge his theft. If you were any less hypocritical, Mr. Reeve, you'd only embarrass humanity.
Alex Miller September 03, 2012 at 04:06 AM
Martin, I hope you understand that this is not news but a family tragedy. Your article is fine but the pictures you have posted are invasive and offensive to the family. Not only to them, but also the many men and women in service who have and will be affected by this death. I hope you are a decent human being and can abide by the requests of the family who are grieving the loss of their son.
JJLS September 03, 2012 at 04:31 AM
Someone needs to FIRST worry about Facebook and Twitter. THOSE are where the devestating sensationalism begins!!! The photos and quotes from this gentleman are gut wrenching sorrowful.
Ronda jones September 03, 2012 at 05:11 AM
I apologize to the Razani family for adding my fuel to this fire. Their comfort and the respect of their wishes is the only thing that matters. Let there be peace tonight. Everyone, rest in peace.
Tatskie September 03, 2012 at 05:41 AM
Mr. Kamath u dont know Mr Reeve. It sounds like u are the one is so hatred. Watch what u wish for maybe will hunt to u one day.
Tatskie September 03, 2012 at 05:45 AM
Mr. Kamath maybe i should remain u a Mohammed. To me ur name sounds middle eatern i can name u Mr. Mohammed instead of Mr. Kamath. The only thing Mr.Reeve said is remove the photos for the grieving family.
Martin Henderson (Editor) September 03, 2012 at 06:07 AM
Photos of Adam's sister and parents have been removed. It's not our intent to make the story about photos and videos and whether something is in bad taste or not; we would much rather the focus be on Adam, remembrances of him, and any messages that people would like to pass along to his family and friends.
Mona Razani September 03, 2012 at 06:24 AM
Thanks Martin for the removal and the email. Thank you. I know you were just trying to help.
Martin Henderson (Editor) September 03, 2012 at 07:17 AM
You're welcome, and thank you for the sentiment. Adam was obviously loved by many, and the community -- even those who don't know you or him -- feels for you for your loss.
MayMom September 04, 2012 at 02:31 PM
To the Razani family, we are very sorry for your loss. Words can not heal your suffering but know that there are so many people out there who are praying for you. Mr. Henderson, I'm sure your intentions were to highlight this young mans story. Unfortunately it ended up much like the rest of the media now. Get the photos and ask for forgiveness later. If you were attending the funeral, you should have respectfully asked the family for permission to both photograph and post pictures. It should have been up to them as to whether these images would be made public. I'm glad you ultimately honored their request. Ms/Mr Kamath: Are you serious? Would you really want this around your loved ones and your suffering.
kim olsen September 23, 2012 at 11:53 PM
Does someone know Adam Razani's rank in the Air Force? I always send Gold Star Stars to the families of the fallen even if they fall due to PTSD suicide. Please see my website: www.goldstarstars.com Remembering Our Fallen Heroes One Star At A Time.
Mona Razani September 28, 2012 at 07:52 AM
Hi Kim, thank you. He worked in intel and communications. He was E-4, Senior Airman
Martin Henderson (Editor) September 28, 2012 at 08:13 AM
Kim, you do noble work on behalf of surviving parents. The story of Nigel's death and his high school buddy Carlos Aragon in the same company within three days of each other brought tears to my eyes and a lump to my throat. Thanks for all you do. Although Kim didn't mention this, I will: Anyone wishing to donate to the Gold Star Stars can do by following the link in her post.


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