(AP/WJLA) - Kathleen Gaarde, 63, of Woodbridge, was a financial analyst who supported the organization responsible for the shipyards, her husband, Douglass, wrote in an email to the AP early Tuesday.
Douglass Gaarde declined to speak, but wrote that he was unable to sleep.
"Today my life partner of 42 years (38 of them married) was taken from me, my grown son and daughter, and friends," he wrote. "We were just starting to plan our retirement activities and now none of that matters. It hasn't fully sunk in yet but I know I already dearly miss her."
Madelyn Gaarde, of Grand Junction, Colo., who's married to Douglass Gaarde's brother, said her sister- and brother-in-law met while he was studying electrical engineering at the University of South Florida in Tampa. She was a graduate of Florida State University.
Kathleen, a native of Chicago, is remembered by her family as an animal lover and an ardent follower of the Washington Capitals.
Douglass Gaarde, an Illinois native, also worked for the Navy until his retirement last year, his sister-in-law said.
"She was a very gracious person and very welcoming," she said of Kathleen Gaarde.
Gaarde's family says that donations in her name can be made to the Virginia branch of the Humane Society.