Christine’s Story

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Christine Loeber (fondly known as Loeber, or even Loebs) grew up in Easton, MA with her younger sister, Michelle. Over the years she accumulated a vast array of friends and was known for her kindness, sense of fun, and bestowing her incredible smile on everyone, even people she barely knew. She was active in sports, loved animals (especially dogs) and enjoyed reading and listening to music (from James Taylor to Black Sabbath). A soccer and basketball player at Oliver Ames High School, she was also prom queen. Friends remember how she could easily transition from sweat pants to sophisticated attire, looking totally comfortable – and fabulous – in each.  

 The descriptions of “young Loeber” echo the Loeber of her 20s, 30s and 40s. At University of New Hampshire, she was always up for a social gathering, big or small. She attracted countless friends and male admirers. She sometimes had to be dragged to the library and then spent her “study” time chatting with the guys on the football team. Her passion for squeezing the fun out of everything carried her, and her many lucky friends, through the challenges of college life. But she had a serious side too, and was a frequent counselor to her DZ sorority sisters with boy problems and girl drama. When she needed to unwind herself, she would withdraw for drawing or writing in her room.

 Her sense of fun and adventure took her to Disney World for an internship junior year and to Cape Cod to lifeguard in the summers, where she formed lasting friendships, as she always did.

After graduation, Christine held various jobs in Boston, including at New England Sports Network, where she often shared free box tickets for games with family and friends. In 2002, she changed paths and took a job at Boston Health Care for the Homeless. This organization’s mission inspired her to pursue a Master’s in social work, and she graduated from Boston College in 2008.

As a therapist, she focused on veterans from the start. At the Brockton VA, she worked with women suffering from PTSD and substance abuse. She earned her yoga certification at Kripalu in the Berkshires and integrated yoga into her treatment program.

Looking for a new adventure, Christine moved to California in 2013, working at the acclaimed Palo Alto VA and later the VA in Santa Rosa. Always a Massachusetts girl, she missed her family, friends, East Coast winters and warm beach days, but she embraced Northern California. Forging wonderful friendships, she took in the local culture – be it the famous food and wine, live music in Petaluma or trips to Tahoe. In 2016, she was recruited as Executive Director of The Pathway Home in Yountville, a residential treatment program for post-9/11 male veterans. Her dedication to the role and the vets was tremendous, and under her guidance the program provided invaluable support for veterans seeking to regain their footing with schooling or the workplace.

On March 9, 2018, on her day off, Christine visited The Pathway Home on the Yountville VA campus to attend a goodbye party for coworkers. A disturbed former patient entered the party and released everyone but Christine, 48, and two staff members. Soon after, she was killed alongside therapist Jennifer Golick, 42, and psychologist Jennifer Gonzalez Shushereba, 32, who was pregnant. The gunman then took his own life. The killings deeply shook those associated with the program, the VA and the larger community. For Christine’s devastated family and friends, the outpouring of grief on both coasts made clear how many lives she had brightened. In the days and weeks after, people from all corners of her life referred to her as “a bright light,” a description that seems fitting for someone with such a radiant smile. And so this memorial foundation makes it its mission to keep her causes alive and her bright light shining for years to come.

Christine was known for her hand written notes and cards. We have incorporated throughout the website some of her doodles and handwritten icons to capture her essence and spirit.

 
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