HIGHLAND PARK, Ill. — Craig Goldstein met his future wife, Katie Brebrick, at Marquette University in the 1970s.
They were students, and back then, mostly over meals at the cafeteria and the occasional movie, they were just friends.
It wasn't until 20 years later, Goldstein said, that he realized she was the one who got away.
"I called her in Milwaukee from Chicago. I thought we would be on the phone for five minutes. We were on the phone for an hour. It's like we were still best friends," said Goldstein in an interview with CNN.
They met for coffee two weeks after that phone call.
"We sat on a sofa and we leafed through a book, and I thought to myself, I'm going to fall in love with her," said Goldstein.
He did. They married and had two girls. They settled in Highland Park.
Katie Goldstein (maiden name, Brebrick) was with her daughter, Cassie, when she was shot and killed on Monday during the city's annual Fourth of July Parade.
TMJ4 News spoke with Gabe Szekely, who was friends with Craig and Katie at Marquette.
"A very peppy person. Very good listener. Very even-tempered. I never saw her angry unless it was at Craig if he was acting the fool," said Szekely.
The three would remain lifelong friends. Szekely remembers a trip Katie made to his parent's home on the east coast.
"Especially my dad was taken with her. I think because she laughed at all of his corny jokes," he said. "Whether she truly found the jokes funny or not, I don't know."
Craig and Katie visited Szekely and his wife just a few weeks ago at their home in Wauwatosa. He had no idea it would be the last time he saw her alive.
"Everybody liked her. I can't think of a single person who did not. Or said something bad about her," said Szekely.
Their Wisconsin ties go beyond their time at Marquette. Craig, a physician, has been working Lake Geneva for a number of years. Katie helped care for her aging parents in Wisconsin.
"They've been together a long time and raised a beautiful family and traveled. They loved to bird [watch] together," close friend Stacie Primer said.
The couple married and raised two daughters, settling in Highland Park, Illinois.
Primer and Katie met because of their kids more than a decade ago. They have been friends since then.
"She was just selfless and giving and family-oriented. She shared a lot of values that you would respect in a person. Children first. Family first. She'd make these big elaborate dinners all the time," Primer said.
The two planned to meet for coffee on Thursday until Katie was killed in the Highland Park July 4th shooting.
"I didn't believe it. I refused to believe it. It couldn't possibly happen," Primer recalled.
A meal train for the family generated so much support that the Goldsteins encouraged people to instead donate to the general fund for other victims, something Katie would have wanted.
"Really important to them that they share with the community," Primer said. "It's just their M.O. That's just how they've always been."
Katie's family and friends want people to know the woman they love.
"To keep her memory alive and hopefully to make sure that this never happens again," Primer said.
Craig Goldstein told CNN his wife was not an attention seeker, and in some ways, his speaking out is a violation.
"But I want people to bear witness. I don't want people to be numb to events," he said. "The best i can do is perhaps paint a picture of Katie that will motivate someone to, to help, to help with violence."