Family of Minnesota cruise ship couple will plan memorial

by Greta Kaul

The family of the White Bear Lake couple missing from the Italian cruise ship catastrophe announced Tuesday they will plan a memorial service, the Star Tribune reports.

Gerald and Barbara Heil have been missing since the Costa Concordia slammed into a reef off the coast of Giglio on Jan. 13. At least 17 were killed and 16 are still missing.

Italian officials plan to formally call off their search for the missing Wednesday.

“We are certainly disheartened … but understand and accept the decision to bring the search operation to a halt,” the family wrote in a blog post. “As we struggle to come to grips with this tragedy, we find comfort knowing Mom and Dad are now in a better place free from any worries. They have always been obedient to God’s plan and now we must do the same.”