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El Paso Massacre: Widow inviting everyone to his wife's funeral



"I can't stay away from here," Basco, 61, told CNN. "All I know is that my wife never hurt anyone."

Basco and his wife, Margie Reckard, 63, met 22 years ago and quickly became inseparable. She became the love of his life and his only living relative, he said. Hundreds are expected to attend Reckard's visit Friday night at La Paz Faith – Perches Funeral Home in central El Paso as the funeral home said Basco would welcome "anyone to attend his wife's services."

During the days following the massacre, Basco has visited the makeshift memorial behind the Walmart store daily. He would come and go at all times of the day and have slept there for at least one night.

He kneels in front of a white cross with his wife's name surrounded by candles and dozens of flowers. He prays for her and even talks to her.

Tony Dickey, a chaplain for Disaster and Victim Services International, said that lots of strangers have approached Basco with support words or simply to offer a hug.

"He basically just muttered to himself that he no longer had any, that she was all he had. He didn't know what to do," Dickey said the day he met Basco. "He continued to repeat that he would be so alone now. "

Dickey said he told Basco," No, they are your family. El Paso is now your family. "

" Every second, every breath … has been a wonderful life & # 39;

Basco had just stopped riding the rodeo in Omaha, Nebraska, when he met Reckard in a bar. She was originally from the Washington, DC, area. Basco is from Louisiana.

He says that Reckard had smiled at him that night but that he was so shy that he couldn't talk to her. At some point, Basco was finally approaching her. What started as a drink and a friendly conversation turned into a dinner and later to their first time sharing breakfast.

"Me and my wife had a band, a fantastic band," Basco said. "I've never known anything like that in my life."

  Antonio Basco described the more than two decades with his wife as a wonderful life

Quickly they jumped on a train with nothing but a backpack.

"Every second, every breath … … has been a wonderful life," he said.

The couple traveled around the country until they eventually settled in El Paso. They took care of each other as they got older and when Reckard began to fight Parkinson's disease.

"We never went to bed mad at each other without saying good night or I'm sorry," he said. "We planned to live together and die together."

Rico Duran, 22, a care provider who had worked with the couple, said they would spend their days watching cowboy movies in the old school or sometimes driving around town in their blue SUV.

Reckard was really active, Duran said, not wanting to ask for help, even though she had to use a walker to move. Reckard and Basco were always smiling and breaking up conversations even though there was a language barrier, Duran said.

"They have so much love for the harassers and overall people of the city," Duran said. "They didn't know Spanish but they always made an effort to communicate with Spanish speakers."

  Antonio Basco said that his wife, Margie Reckard, was his angel and that they had a fantastic band

El Paso is becoming his family

Basco did maintenance on the SUV outside their home on August 3 when Reckard went to Walmart. It was his wife's Saturday routine to go to the store near Cielo Vista Mall to shop for food, he said.

A gunman opened fire inside the store, killing 22 people and injuring at least two dozen. Reckard died in the biggest massacre the city has seen.

Basco searched for Margie at local hospitals for hours hoping to be reunited with her, but the medical staff would not tell him anything. It wasn't until Sunday that law enforcement officers contacted Basco and "told me my wife had been murdered," he said.

His wife who had been his angel, his partner and no doubt his love life did not return home.

"I don't need anything," he said. "I need her and I keep asking her to come back but I know it's impossible."

Dozens of people in El Paso have joined him in the memorial for several days. A local broadcast journalist, Carlos Armendáriz, had visited the memorial with his family when he saw Basco and took a photo of him which he later posted on social media. After seeing many people share Basco's photo, he created a GoFundMe page for him.

"My intention was that people can help him as much as they can," Armendáriz told CNN.

On Wednesday, Armendáriz made sure Basco's opened a bank account to receive the donations.

"Overcoming the loss of a loved one is difficult for someone, imagine how difficult it is for an older man like him," he said.

Jorge Ortiz, director of Perches Funeral Home, said it is unclear how many will attend the funeral but that more than 60 people have already called to order flowers.

As his wife's funeral approaches, Basco, who is still wearing his blue Ford Motor cap and silver wedding band, said he is grateful to all the families and individuals who have reached out to him.

"If it wasn't for all these people, I don't know how I would do it," Basco said.

On Wednesday, Basco said he was not ready to learn to live by himself. He planned to pay some house bills, feed his cat, the princess, and return again to water the flowers in the makeshift memorial and give his wife's cross another kiss.


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