Friends, family to celebrate lives of Pittsylvania County murder victims with service Saturday

PITTSYLVANIA COUNTY, Va. – Family and friends will come together Saturday to celebrate the lives of three family members killed in Tuesday's murders in Pittsylvania County.

A funeral service will start at 2 p.m. Saturday for 62-year-old Joan Bernard, 24-year-old Emily Bivens and her 14-month-old son, Cullen Bivens.

Emily Bivens is survived by husband Blake Bivens. According to Emily's obituary, their 14-month-old son, who was also killed, was "the love of Emily and Blake’s lives."

Emily's obituary describes her as "a kind and gentle soul and a light to all who knew her, loved the Lord and her family with all her heart."

Emily enjoyed photography, teaching music, and was a graduate of Westover Christian Academy and Averett University with a degree in Music Performance, according to her obituary.

Joan Bernard's obituary said that she "devoted her life to being the best Mama and Nana there ever was."

It also said that Joan "treasured her family and spent most of her time with them."

The service will take place at Central Boulevard Church of God in Danville.

The family will receive friends prior to the 2 p.m. service from 11 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. Interment will follow at Danville Memorial Gardens.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the A21 Campaign, a nonprofit organization against human trafficking, or God’s Pit Crew, according to Joan's and Emily's obituaries.

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