Omaha Mall Shooting Victims Remembered

A look at the eight victims who died in Wednesday's shooting at the Westroads Mall in Omaha, Neb.:

Gary Scharf

Gary Scharf was on his way home to Lincoln after a business trip in Iowa when he stopped at the Von Maur store.

"I'm sure he got in front of other people" and took a bullet that might have hit someone else, said his ex-wife, Kim Scharf. "There's no doubt in my mind, I promise you. That's who he is, to a fault."

Scharf, 48, sold agricultural products and was devoted to helping people, she said. Recently he helped a single mom get her car started, then got her address and delivered a package of groceries and blankets to her doorstep, she said.

"I called him my Dudley-do-right," Kim Scharf said. "I'm not kidding. You'd never meet a more honorable and loyal man."

Raised in a small Nebraska town, Gary Scharf graduated from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

The couple divorced about three years ago and Scharf has one son, Steven, according to his brother Bob Scharf.

"He was the kind of guy that shoveled elderly people's snow and fed all the ducks in the pond," Bob Scharf said. "He was a wonderful man."

Beverly Flynn

Beverly Flynn, a gift wrapper at the Von Maur, also had been a real estate agent for NP Dodge Co. since last year.

Whenever she closed a deal, the 47-year-old Omaha woman planted a rose bush in the yard of the new homeowners as a move-in gift, company spokeswoman Susan Young said.

"That was her way to put her style on the whole transaction," Young said. "She was a very warm individual."

Shot in the chest, Flynn was taken to Creighton University Medical Center, where attempts to resuscitate her failed.

"All we know is that a fine human being has been taken from us prematurely, and that she and the other victims will be greatly missed," said Sandy Dodge, president of NP Dodge, in a letter to employees.

Angie Schuster

Angie Schuster had planned to teach elementary school after graduating from college, but when she couldn't find a job in the field, she started working in retail, said her older sister, Donna Kenkel.

Schuster, 36, of Omaha, was a manager in the girls' department at Von Maur, where she had worked for nearly 10 years, Kenkel said. The department is near the third-floor elevator, which Kenkel said meant "she probably didn't have any chance, any warning" against the gunman.

"They said he got off the elevator, and she would have been right there in his way," she said.

The sisters were born 11 months apart and lived about a mile from each other. They last saw each other Sunday, at a child's birthday party at the Omaha zoo.

"She was in a very happy place in her life. She met a man," Kenkel said. "They were so happy."

Dianne Trent

Dianne Trent, a store employee, spent warm evenings tending to the flowers on her porch, drinking tea and chatting with her neighbor, Errol Schlenker.

"A very incredibly sweet person," Schlenker said. "She was a middle-of-the-road American, a dedicated worker. She was just a decent person who lived a good life here."

Divorced many years ago and with no children, Trent, 53, lived in a northwest Omaha town house with a small dog and two cats, Schlenker said.

"She called me a couple times when she was afraid of something, when she heard noises outside," he said. "I know she was always concerned about her safety as far as the way things were going in society and being a single woman."

Janet Jorgensen

Janet Jorgensen, a 14-year employee at Von Maur, was planning a wedding for one of her grandchildren and getting ready for the college graduation of another.

"Her grandchildren were her life," said family friend Paul Huntimer. Jorgensen had eight of them, from ages eight to 25, and three children of her own.

Jorgensen, 66, of Omaha, was a favorite among customers at the store, he said, because of her outgoing personality.

"She loved her work," said Huntimer. "She had regular customers she loved to talk about."

She was also a nucleus of the Omaha neighborhood where she lived, organizing an annual block party and other events.

Jorgensen lived in the same neighborhood for about 40 years and was married to the same man for 50 years.

John McDonald

Although John McDonald and his wife, Kathy, tried to hide behind a chair on the third floor at the Von Maur store, he was shot. He died before paramedics could reach him, she said.

The McDonalds were both retired and lived across the Missouri River from Omaha in Council Bluffs, Iowa. They had two children and seven granddaughters and had been married 40 years.

John McDonald, 65, loved music, electronics and astronomy, and he played bridge and the guitar.

"He was one of the greatest people anyone could hope to meet," Kathy McDonald said. "He had a fantastic sense of humor. He was so accepting of people."

The McDonalds' neighbor Shirley Acebedo said her husband and John McDonald would talk football out in the yard.

"They were just nice, ordinary people who didn't deserve this," Acebedo said.

Gary Joy

Gary Joy was a devoted son who often dined with his 91-year-old mother at her Omaha retirement community.

"He always came when I needed help," Inez Joy said.

The mother and son's last meal together was over the Thanksgiving holiday.

Gary Joy, 56, was a store employee. The Omaha man was taken to Creighton University Medical Center but died before he arrived.

"I've been through tragedy before," his mother said. "You hurt. There's not a thing you can do about it."

Joy, who had also lived in Denver, was divorced and had no children. He is survived by his older brother Jim.

Gary Joy was a graduate of Bellevue University. His mother said he had always loved to write stories and poems.

"I cannot begin to express my feelings of grief and loss," his mother said in a statement. "I feel helpless, as there is nothing I can do to bring him back."

Maggie Webb

Maggie Webb was new to the Omaha Von Maur store. She transferred there from a Chicago location earlier this year, according to her alma mater, Illinois State University. She graduated from there in 2005 with a degree in business administration.

Webb, who was about two weeks shy of her 25th birthday, was the youngest victim of Wednesday's shooting rampage.

The Quad-City Times reported that Webb grew up in Illinois and graduated from Moline High School in 2001. She was active in the school dance team and Spanish Club, among other activities.

Moline principal Bill Burrus said: "One of my staff commented to me about Maggie, saying, 'She was one of the good ones.' They paused, and said, 'No, one of the great ones."'

Associated Press calls to Webb's parents and sister were not immediately returned.