DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Thursday morning friends and relatives gathered at Christ the King Catholic Church in Dallas to celebrate the life of Ashley Harrison. The young woman was killed last week in the Tuscaloosa tornadoes.

Before the funeral began, for the 2007 graduate of Urseline Academy and University of Alabama senior, two people who knew her well sat down with CBS 11 News.

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The pair shared what they’ll miss most and how the outpouring of love from others is keeping Harrison’s family strong.

“She was kind and her smile was contagious,” remembered Ashley’s friend, Charles Crain. “She had a personality that could brighten your day. Everybody knew who she was.”

Crain says everybody knew Ashley, but he was her best friend and knew her better than most. Crain says he really liked “her no-nonsense attitude”.

The two met in high school while playing lacrosse and he was a mile away, hiding in the laundry room of his brother’s house, the night his best friend was killed.

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Ashley’s uncle, Officer Marion Perret, headed to Alabama the minute he heard Ashley may have been caught in the massive tornado. “My goal was to find her, hopefully alive,” he said.

While finding Ashley alive wasn’t meant to be, Perret says it brings a smile to his face remembering her. “She was everything you could ever imagine in a child,” he recalled fondly. “She was beautiful, had the intelligence, the drive, the focus.”

Perret says Ashley was like a little sister to him and the loss of her is profound.

Everyone agrees the faith of the Harrison family is strong. According to Perret, the outpouring of love others have given has strengthened the faith of Ashley’s parents further. “Seeing the thousands of people at the memorial… that all helps this family,” Perret said. “They knew they had a beautiful, smart child [but] this all affirms it. Not only is she beautiful in their eyes but she touched so many people.”

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There are still 25 people unaccounted for in Tuscaloosa alone. The swath of tornadoes that swept across states killed more than 329 people.