The image of a young, loving couple sitting in Bridgeport's Goosetown Park nestled comfortably amid tender smiles, hugs and happy memories Saturday when friends and family honored the lives of Tim and Kim Donnelly.
"It's very meaningful, this place, and everything it symbolizes," said Tara Donnelly, Tim and Kim's daughter, after she and her brother, Eric, unveiled a new stone dedicating the Wood Avenue park to their parents and all victims of violence.
"It's a place for family and friends to meet."
"I think it's wonderful," said Eric Donnelly. "It's very amazing to me to hear how much my parents meant to the community."
He thanked the city for honoring his parents with the dedication.
About 75 people witnessed the dedication of the park to Tim and Kim Donnelly, both 52, who were killed in 2005 during an armed robbery of their downtown Fairfield jewelry store.
The small park suffered some damage during Superstorm Sandy, but Jack Dillon, whose group Groundworks Bridgeport redesigned the park, said high school students cleaned it up afterward and planted some trees. Next spring, it should be alive with flowers as 150 tulip bulbs were planted along with 200 crocuses and daffodils.
Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch opened the ceremony to honor the long-time city residents.
"It's a very appropriate place (the park) because the Donnellys meant so much to this neighborhood," Finch said, adding the couple brought great happiness to the city.
In the moments before the officials' speeches, friends and family gathered in front of Woods End Delicatessen, just across Wood Avenue from the park.
The joy they shared was evident in the hugs, jokes and smiles. Old friends catching up and remembering good times in the neighborhood and the central role this modest triangular park played in it. Eric and Tara both had their first jobs in the store.
For uncles and aunts and friends of the family who might as well have been relatives, it was the place they hung out as kids.
Mary Donnelly, who still lives in the family's Redding Place home down the street, said Star Market, which Woods End Deli replaced, was where you went to buy "everything your mother wouldn't let you eat."
Chris Donnelly said the spirit of Tim and Kim continues to live within those who loved them.
When the pair was in high school, they would sit in the park after taking romantic walks through the neighborhood.
They married when they were 21 after dating since they were 17.
They went into the jewelry business together in 1980. What struck many customers and friends about them was how the business seemed secondary to them and how they enjoyed being a part of the special moments in people's lives -- engagements, anniversaries, weddings and more.
So, the small park -- a place of so many happy memories -- now can serve as a place to reclaim the joy and piece that can be shattered so quickly by violence, Chris Donnelly said.
"Violence is so easy; it happens in a moment," he said.
"Peace takes work."