Linda Franklin had beaten breast cancer, raised two children and a niece practically by herself and was expecting her first grandchild in just a few months. She was looking forward to moving this week into a bigger home.
The 47-year-old FBI intelligence specialist was gunned down Monday night, the ninth victim killed by the Washington-area sniper. She was felled by a single shot to the head as she and her husband, Ted, were loading their red convertible with items for their new home.
"The employees who worked with Linda -- and all of us -- are deeply shocked and angry over this tragedy," FBI Director Robert Mueller said.
The Arlington woman studied terror threats at the FBI's National Infrastructure Protection Center in Washington. David Wray, an agency spokesman, said Franklin worked in the financial sector. Officials said there is no evidence to suggest she died because of her job.
Co-worker Steve York recalled Franklin's smile -- it "could light up a room."
"She had that ability to make people from different places feel comfortable," he said.
When others in the Washington area were looking for a serial gunman around every corner, the FBI analyst and avid camper was planning her next trip to the theater.
"Extremely outgoing," Paul Hulseberg said of his friend. "Probably the most giving person I know."
Hulseberg said Franklin had still been undergoing physical therapy for a double mastectomy after being diagnosed with breast cancer.
"She is courageous," Hulseberg said.
Bill Murray, a co-worker at the FBI center who served Tuesday as a family spokesman, said the Franklin family urged anybody with information about the sniper attacks to come forward.
"Linda was a loving wife and mother who watched out for everyone in her family and her loss will affect everyone in the Franklin family, the FBI ... and the community as a whole," Murray said. "The Franklin family is devastated."
Franklin is survived by her husband and two grown children, a son and daughter. Family members did not want to comment, Murray said. Hulseberg said the daughter is five months' pregnant.
Franklin lived near Baileys Crossroads, just a few miles from the shopping center where she was killed. Hulseberg said the family was shopping for their pending move.
She frequently hosted visitors who would crowd into her two-bedroom condominium. "With the number of visitors that they had, expected to have, they needed a bigger spot," Hulseberg said.
The Defense Department said Franklin was an Air Force veteran who had been stationed overseas and in the Washington area. York said she had been a civilian employee at the agency before joining the FBI.
Franklin played a major role in establishing the FBI center's biggest success, the InfraGard program in which the government shares tips and warnings with private companies and organizations that promise not to divulge the information publicly.
Franklin "blew apart the stereotype of the clock-punching bureaucrat; she gave it her all," said Michael Vatis, a former director of the center. "I would take a hundred Linda Franklins anytime."