Relatives say Margaret Anderson _ the Mount Rainier National Park ranger slain by a gunman _ was living her dream, working at the same park as her ranger husband and raising their young family.
"They had been looking for that for a long time, to be in the same park," Margaret Anderson's father, the Rev. Paul Kritsch, told The Seattle Times. "As you can well imagine, it doesn't seem real."
Anderson, 34, was killed Sunday when she tried to stop a man at a roadblock she set up inside the park after the man failed to stop at a checkpoint. The body of the suspected gunman was found Monday.
Anderson's husband, Eric Anderson, was working elsewhere in the park when his wife was shot.
Margaret and Eric Anderson worked at Mount Rainier for about four years after meeting at a national park in Utah and moving around the country early in their careers. Their two daughters are ages 3 and 2.
"Margaret is a wonderful, wonderful young lady," her mother-in-law, Cynthia Anderson, of Hanson, Mass., told the newspaper.
Eric Anderson was devastated by his wife's slaying, she said.
The couple, who lived in the tiny town of Eatonville, Wash., met when both worked as park rangers at Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah in the early 2000s. Margaret Anderson began as a seasonal ranger at Bryce Canyon then gained additional federal law-enforcement training in Georgia shortly after the couple married in 2005.
The two got engaged in December 2004 while she was living in Harpers Ferry, W.Va., working as a ranger at the nearby Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park.
They were later offered jobs at Mount Rainier.
"That is why they decided to go out there," Cynthia Anderson said. "It's beautiful out there."
Margaret Anderson was born near Toronto and grew up in Connecticut and Westfield, N.J., where she graduated from high school in 1995 after performing in the marching band. She also was an artist who loved to paint.
Information from: The Seattle Times, http://www.seattletimes.com