(Editor's note: City Pulse covered the memorial service for "Tori" Croff under the impression it had permission to be there. Afterward, a dispute has arisen over just what the family thought it had given City Pulse permission to do. City Pulse's intention was never to invade the family's privacy; rather it was to share the service — which was opened to the public and attended by more than 250 people — with a wider audience, including people who may have wished to attend but could not. Had City Pulse not thought it had permission to be at the service, however, it would not have covered it.)
Thursday, June 23 — A week and a half ago, members of the Lansing theater community gathered to celebrate the best in local theater at the annual Pulsar awards ceremony. On Thursday, many of those same people came together again, this time under somber circumstances.
Victoria "Tori” Croff, 8, died on Sunday after a swimming accident suffered the day before. She was the daughter of Laura and Jeffrey S. Croff, both prominent members of the Lansing theater community. Her memorial service was held on Thursday at Olivet Baptist Church in south Lansing. By 10:45 a.m., 15 minutes before the service started, the intimate worship space was overflowing with nearly 300 friends and family.
Pastors Dave Sincox and Ed Owens presided over the service with songs, stories and a few moments of levity. "Castle on a Cloud" from "Les Miserables" and “Thank You for the Music” from “Mamma Mia” accompanied a slide show of Tori's life. "Tomorrow" from the musical "Annie” and a quirky children’s song about a family cat called “Senor Don Gato” were also performed.
More music concluded the service before the congregation moved outside to release 200 white balloons.