By Danza Johnson

Daily Journal

NEW ALBANY - Funeral services Friday for fallen Ecru soldier Pvt. Barry Mayo gave friends and family members time to reflect on his life and say a final good-bye.

"He doesn't have to worry about wars or anything like that where he is," said friend Michael Tucker, who attended the funeral. "He has gone home."

Mayo and two other soldiers were killed March 5 when an improvised explosive device exploded near their unit in Baqubah, Iraq. He is the second solider from Ecru to die in the past two years in Iraq. In June 2005, Marine Lance Cpl. Blake Mounce, 22, was killed in action.

Hundreds attended Mayo's funeral at United Funeral Home in New Albany on Friday, three days after his body returned to Mississippi.

Many at the funeral celebrated Mayo's life. Laughs and stories were shared about Mayo as mourners sat in the funeral home's chapel waiting for the afternoon service to start.

"That boy was a trip," one woman said as she dabbed tears from the corners of her eyes. Another remembered, "He was so respectful to everyone he met."

Family friend Brenda Daniels said relatives have been preparing for the emotions of the funeral.

"Trust me, they've had a couple of weeks of grieving," Daniels said. "I know the pain will never leave, but I think everyone understands Barry is in a good place now."

After his body was buried at Union Hill Cemetery, the tears were easy to see, but so were the smiles.

"Barry isn't gone," one family member said. "He's with all of us and that's where he'll stay."

Contact Daily Journal reporter Danza Johnson at 678-1585 or danza.johnson@djournal.com.

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