The town of Millbrook, N.Y., was in mourning on March 22 as family and friends of Natasha Richardson said their final goodbyes at St Joseph's Catholic Church. But besides those who knew her best, neighbors of the actress share with In Touch some of their favorite memories of someone they remember as a normal, down-to-earth mom.
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"Natasha was a very frequent customer and a friend of mine," Janet Sears, owner of Millbrook Antique Mall, tells In Touch. "She was one of the most delightful, friendly people to ever come through here. She was such an excellent mom. Her kids were perfectly behaved and they clearly had a great relationship with her. She was so affectionate - always hugging her kids. Just full of love." Janet adds that Natasha was a staple in the community as well. "It was extremely common to see her around town at a soccer game, hockey game, or at the carnival with her kids showing support. She was the kind of person that if there were slides at the carnival, she'd be on them, sliding down with her kids, having a ball."
William Mitchell, co-owner of Red School House Antiques, adds, "She was really something incredible. She always had time to smile. I really wish there could be more people like her." Another co-owner of Red School Antiques, Don Bergeron, tells In Touch, "Natasha had this generosity. This spontaneous energy. You'd see her pumping gas all by herself and she was just like us."
Some even shared personal stories about their encounters with the star. "One time we were at the preview night for Liza Minnelli's one woman show that she opened in 2002," William recounts. "During intermission I went to the lobby to use the restroom and it was packed like sardines. Well, somewhere in that shuffle Natasha and I passed. And instead of going with the flow and just ignoring me and continuing on, Natasha's face lit up when we saw each other and she stopped right there. It just showed right there that everyone is her friend and no person is insignificant or not worth stopping to acknowledge."
Don Bergeron had his own personal story to share with In Touch. "They were really a radiant couple, she and Liam. Liam was a great, humble husband," Don says. "We went to see Natasha in Cabaret and went backstage to Natasha's dressing room. We were chatting with her for quite awhile before we even noticed Liam was in the room just standing back in the corner, letting Natasha have the spotlight, have her moment. We were like, 'Hi, Liam! Didn't see you there!' And he just waved and nodded and didn't jump in."