09.17.13 5:45 PM ET
Remembering the Navy Yard Victims
Michael Arnold, 59
A pilot who was in the midst of building his own airplane, 59-year-old Arnold had been married for 30 years and had two grown sons. He was a retired Navy commander who had been stationed at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, and later designed vessels used by the Marine Corps. A neighbor called him “the best neighbor ever” and said he had lived in the area for at least a dozen years. “He was a loving son of his mother and his wife, and great father to his kids,” his uncle said. “It’s tragic. How can you get up in the morning and go to work and have that happen? How do bad things like that happen to good people?”
Arthur Daniels, 51
Grandfather of nine and father of five, witnesses say 51-year-old Daniels spotted the gunman and made a run for the elevator with a colleague. Daniels, who worked relocating and installing office furniture in government buildings, was shot in the back. “I don’t know why they shot him,” his wife, Priscilla, told The Washington Post. “He was a good father and hard worker.” His son, Arthur Jr., said the family was struggling to understand why it happened. “All he did was go to work. That was his only crime.”
Kathleen Gaarde, 63
A financial analyst at the Navy Yard, Gaarde had just begun planning her retirement with her husband, Douglass, who also worked for the Navy until last year. They met while he was studying electrical engineering in Tampa at the University of South Florida. In an email to the Associated Press, he wrote: “Today my life partner of 42 years (38 of them married) was taken from me, my grown son and daughter, and friends. 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.”
Sylvia Frasier, 53
The family of 53-year-old network-security administrator gathered in Prince George’s County, Maryland, to wait for news about their daughter and sister when they hadn’t heard from her on Monday. Frasier was unmarried and worked at Naval Sea Systems Command for 13 years after earning a master’s degree at Strayer University.
Kenneth Bernard Proctor, 46
A father of two teenage boys and an avid Redskins fan, 46-year-old Proctor was a civilian utilities foreman and didn’t work in Building 197 but would go there every morning for breakfast. His ex-wife and high school sweetheart, Evelyn, told the Associated Press that Proctor was “a very loving, caring, gentle person.” The two still spoke every day before work and lived 10 minutes from each other.
Martin Bodrog, 54
In a 1977 high school yearbook bio, Bodrog was described as having “a crack for all occasions” and a stand-out student. He had plans to join the U.S. Naval Academy. A LinkedIn profile shows the 54-year-old worked as a senior analyst at TMB, which appears to be a Department of Defense contractor. According to his obituary, he oversaw designing and acquiring ships for the Navy. He was married to his wife for a quarter century and was father to three daughters, ages 16 to 23.
John Roger Johnson, 73
A 30-year resident of Derwood, Maryland, Johnson was described as the best possible neighbor and a smart man who worked for the Navy. “He always had a smile on his face,” a neighbor told the Washington Post. He had four daughters and apparently was set to retire years ago, but wanted to continue working because he enjoyed it.
Mary Francis Knight, 51
The 51-year-old mother from Reston, Virginia, taught information technology at two campuses of Northern Virginia Community College after years of working in cybersecurity. She had apparently just started a new job at the Naval Sea Systems Command this month, though she'd been employed there since 2009. According to her LinkedIn profile, Knight had a master's degree from Webster University and further accreditation from National Defense University.
Frank Kohler, 50
In his hometown of Lexington Park, Maryland, the former president of the Rotary Club would hand out candy in a crown and robe as “King Oyster” during the region’s annual festival. Fifty-year-old Kohler was married with two daughters and worked for defense contractor Lockheed Martin in southern Maryland. He graduated from Slippery Rock College in Pennsylvania and continued to root for the Pittsburgh Steelers. “A great family man, a Christian, and a great friend. It just doesn’t seem possible,” his former boss said. “I mean, you hear about these things all the time ... But when you know somebody, it just makes it all the worse ... It’s a huge loss for southern Maryland.”
Vishnu Pandit, 61
A friend described 61-year-old Pandit as a "pioneer" who moved from Mumbai in the 1970s, getting his second degree in marine engineering and then a third, a master's, from the University of Michigan. For 30 years he "lived the American Dream" working at the Navy Yard as in engineer. Pandit lived in North Potomac, Maryland, for 20 years with his wife and his golden retriever. They raised two sons and had one granddaughter.
Gerald Read, 58
An information assurance specialist of 12 years at the Naval Sea Systems Command, according to his LinkedIn profile, Read was 58 years old.
Richard Michael Ridgell, 52
The 52-year-old lived in Westminster, Maryland. An archived article in the Baltimore Sun reports Ridgell went by “Mike” and was a Trooper First Class with a daughter who would now be in her late teens. He spent 17 years with the Maryland State Police before resigning in 2000 as a corporal. Ridgell and was father to two daughters.