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Washington Navy Yard victims were devoted spouses, parents and sports fans

2:20 PM, Sep 17, 2013   |    comments
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A wreath stands at the US Navy Memorial September 17, 2013 in Washington, DC, after a ceremony to honor the victims of the Washington Navy Yard Shootings. US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel laid the wreath with Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey. AFP PHOTO/Jim WATSON (Photo by JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)

(USA TODAY) -- One victim worked the night shift at Wal-Mart. Another was a Navy veteran and avid pilot who was building a light airplane at home. And a third was a devoted Washington Capitals fan, wife and mother.

Details are emerging about the lives of the victims felled in Monday's shooting rampage at the Washington Navy Yard.

The Metropolitan Police Department identified five additional victims Tuesday morning.

They are Arthur Daniels, 51; Mary Francis Knight, 51; Gerald L. Read, 58; Martin Bodrog, 54 and Richard Michael Ridgell, 52.

Police identified seven victims Monday night. They are Michael Arnold, 59; Sylvia Frasier, 53; Kathy Gaarde, 62; John Roger Johnson, 73; Frank Kohler, 50; Kenneth Bernard Proctor, 46; and Vishnu Pandit, 61.

None of the victims has been identified as active-duty military personnel, officials said.

Michael Arnold: His profile on LinkedIn, an online professional network, identified Arnold as a logistician and supply chain executive with LMI, a consulting firm based in McLean, Va., and said he was a graduate of the Stanford University Graduate School of Business.

For 29 years, Arnold, recently of Lorton, Va., was a Navy supply corps officer before working at the Pentagon from 2010 to 2012, according to the profile.

His uncle, Steven Hunter, told the Associated Press that his nephew was an avid pilot who was building a light airplane at his home. "It would have been the first plane he ever owned," Hunter told the AP in a telephone interview from Rochester, Mich., Arnold's hometown. "It's partially assembled in his basement."

Martin Bodrog: In a quiet, leafy cul de sac of Annandale, Va., a suburb southwest of Washington, D.C., word spread quickly Tuesday that one of their own had been killed at the Washington Navy Yard the day before, former Naval officer Martin Bodrog, 54.

"For everybody in the neighborhood, we were caught off guard," says neighbor Gerald Francis.

Bodrog -- known as "Marty" on the cul de sac - lived there with his wife, Melanie, a neighborhood coordinator. The couple were married for 25 years and had three children: Isabel, 23, Sophie, 17 and Rita, 16, according to an obituary notice issued by the family Tuesday.

"Marty was a source of great inspiration to his family and friends - those of us lucky enough to know Marty are better people for it," the notice says.

Bodrog was a graduate of the United States Naval Academy in 1981 and served as a surface warfare officer for 22 years until his retirement in what his family described as a distinguished career. His expertise and experience were in amphibious operations. "Marty continued to serve his nation by overseeing the design and procurement of ships for our Navy," the notice says.

Bodrog was a friendly face who pitched in on neighborhood chores like shoveling out driveways for the elderly; and was a common sight jogging with his pet poodle, even running in sub-zero cold, wearing shorts and the jersey of his beloved Boston Bruins. His family described him as a "humble, loving father and neighbor."

Martin and his family taught pre-school Sunday school lessons at Immanuel Bible Church in Springfield, Va. He was also active in a church program for high school students, the obituary notice says.

"Needless to say (he) was a great guy," says another neighbor, Ronald Earley. "We'll miss him greatly."

The neighborhood is not new to tragedy. A Virginia Tech student, Mary Read, who was killed in the 2007 shooting rampage, had lived four blocks away.

Sylvia Frasier: Frasier, who had a bachelor's and a master's degree in computer information systems, worked at Naval Sea Systems Command as an information assurance manager since 2000, says a LinkedIn profile in her name.

But she had an unexpected second job: working the night shift at the Wal-Mart store in Waldorf, Md.

She was supposed to work Monday night. Instead, Tuesday morning, Joe Sieger, Assistant Manager of the store, had to break the news that one of his finest employees had been killed in the Navy Yard massacre. Frasier started working at Wal-Mart ten years ago as a second job to her work at the Naval Sea Systems Command.

"Sylvia was a natural leader and she had a fantastic, outgoing personality," Sieger said. "She was always the first person there by your side to lend a helping hand. If someone didn't have a ride after work she always offered her services. Anything you needed, Sylvia was the first one there."

Sylvia started as a cashier and quickly rose from floor associate to customer service.

The heartbroken staff is in disbelief, Sieger says.

"Everyone came to me right away asking 'is it true?' I have had several cashiers who just broke down into tears," Sieger said. "The cashiers are taking it very personally."

According to a LinkedIn profile in her name, Frasier has worked at Naval Sea Systems Command as an enterprise information assurance manager since 2009. Before that, she worked as a NAVSEA HQ information assurance manager from 2000 to 2009. Her duties at NAVSEA included providing policy and guidance on network security and assuring that all computer systems operated by the headquarters met Department of Navy and Department of Defense requirements.

Frasier studied at Strayer University, earning a bachelor of science in computer information systems in 2000 and a master's in information systems in 2002.

"When I asked her why she worked at Walmart when she already had a government job, she just said, 'Joe, I love the people," Sieger recalled. "She was always smiling.

"She just enjoyed life so much and enjoyed people," Sieger says. "She gave it her all. She was never burnt out. You always counted on Sylvia; she was my constant. She was always reliable."

The Wal-Mart in Waldorf will host a vigil for Frasier tonight at 6 p.m.

Kathy Gaarde: She was a financial analyst from Woodbridge, Va, a Washington Capitals fan and devoted wife and mother of two, neighbor and friend Patrick Bolton told the Post.

"The mother was just the kindest lady in the world," Bolton told the news organization. "I've never seen her do anything but nice things for people."

Gaarde's husband, Douglass, wrote an e-mail to the AP early Tuesday. "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."

John Roger Johnson: Neighbors told the Post that Johnson was a civilian who worked for the Navy. His daughter, Karin Johnson, said the family Tuesday morning was "still waiting to get confirmation so we can go down and identify our father." The family plans to release a statement later Tuesday.

Frank E. Kohler: A family member declined comment and referred calls to a family representative. Kohler and his wife, Michelle, were listed as vice president and president, respectively, of Computer Management Systems Incorporated, based in Tall Timbers. A LinkedIn profile identifies Frank Kohler as a senior system engineer.

Public records show Kohler had property in Belleair, Fla., where he also had hunting and fishing permits. Kohler lived on the banks of Herring Creek in Tall Timbers, Md. on the Chesapeake Bay. A neighbor, Joyce Mori, says Kohler had two college-age children were avid fans of water sports.

"Frank and Michelle work, so we never see them," says Mori, whose husband once tried to buy an old jet ski from Kohler only to have Kohler gave it to him instead. "On weekends they have a boat and a pool and they go water-skiing. It looks like they have friends over all the time. It just seems like they're a good family."

Kenneth Proctor: The father of two more than likely walked into the shooting zone before the violence began Monday morning merely to get some breakfast, says his ex-wife, Evelyn Proctor of Waldorf, Md.

The 46-year-old civilian utilities foreman, who worked for the federal government for 22 years, adored his two teen-age sons and the Washington Red Skins. Every morning before work at the Washington Navy Yard he would stop by Building 197 to grab something to eat, she says.

"He just went in there in the morning for breakfast," she told the AP, speaking Monday of the building where the shooting took place. "He didn't even work in the building. It was a routine thing for him to go there in the morning for breakfast, and unfortunately it happened."

She described him as a very caring, loving and gentle person. "We were still very close. It wasn't a bitter divorce," Evelyn Proctor says. They lived 10 minutes apart.

He spoke with her that very morning. They were married for 19 years, were high school sweethearts and stayed very close even after splitting up this year, she says.

Their oldest son, Kenneth Proctor Jr., 17, is in Army basic training in Oklahoma and their younger son, Kendull, is 15.

Evelyn Proctor tried repeatedly to reach her ex-husband after hearing of the shooting, and then drove to the Navy Yard when there was no response. She feared he might be among the dead.

Standing with other relatives waiting at the scene, she learned Monday night she was right.

Vishnu Pandit: Online records identified Pandit in his 60s living in North Potomac, Md. A person who answered the telephone at the address said, "Please tell your colleagues not to call."

Neighbors told the Washington Post that Pandit had lived with his wife in their North Potomac, Md., neighborhood for 20 years.

Neighbor Mike Honig described Pandit as "a very nice man with an Irish setter."

All were shocked by the news of his death.

"It's a terrible tragedy," Honig told the Post. "It's a strain and strain on the nation that we haven't put public safety laws in place to prevent this sort of tragedy."

Gerald Read: His LinkedIn profile says he worked 12 years as an information assurance specialist at Naval Sea Systems Command.

Richard Ridgell: Ridgell was a huge football fan, especially for the Baltimore Ravens. A long-time neighbor of Ridgell in Westminster, Md, Steven Sadowski says you always knew when there was a good play by the excitement and cheering across the street.

"He was a fun loving guy and a good neighbor who always was willing to help out," Sadowski says. He says he was shocked when he heard Ridgell was killed.

"I'm sorry for this wife and two daughters" Sadowski says. "It's terrible that their father died."

The Navy established two telephone numbers for families to call for information about their loved ones: (202) 433-6151 and (202) 433-9713.

Contributing: Sydney Kashiwagi; Associated Press

Marisol Bello, Natalie DiBlasio, Gregg Zoroya and Mary Beth Marklein, USA TODAY

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