One of the victims of the shootings Monday at Washington Navy Yard in Washington, D.C., met her husband while he was studying at the University of South Florida, a relative said.
Douglass and Kathleen Gaarde met while he was studying electrical engineering at USF, according to Madelyn Gaarde, of Grand Junction, Colo., who’s married to Douglass Gaarde’s brother.
Kathleen Gaarde, 63, of Woodbridge, Va., was one of 12 people slain by Aaron Alexis before he in turn was killed by police.
She was a financial analyst who supported the organization responsible for the shipyards, Douglass wrote in an email to the AP.
Douglass Gaarde declined to speak, but wrote that he was unable to sleep.
“Today my life partner of 42 years (38 of them married) was taken from me, my grown son and daughter, and friends,” he wrote. “We were just starting to plan our retirement activities and now none of that matters. It hasn’t fully sunk in yet but I know I already dearly miss her.”
Gaarde said his wife was a loving daughter who cared for her 94-year-old mother until her death last year.
“She loved her animals and was a blue bird counter for the local refuge,” he wrote. “She also loved hockey and the Washington Capitals and has been a season ticket holder for over 25 years.”
He asked that donations be made in her name to the Virginia branch of the Humane Society.
Douglass Gaarde, an Illinois native, also worked for the Navy until his retirement last year, Madelyn Gaarde said.
“She was a very gracious person and very welcoming,” she said of Kathleen Gaarde.