GEESEYTOWN - Rose Lynn has lost her beloved husband of almost 40 years and her son-in-law in a way she really can't understand or explain, but on Wednesday she felt strong and wanted to talk about the two important men in her life.
Kenneth D. Lynn, 60, and William H. "Bill" Rhodes Jr., 38, "were two good guys," Rose Lynn said.
Lynn and Rhodes were killed Friday by Jeffrey Lee Michael, 44, of Hollidaysburg during a shooting spree on Juniata Valley Road. Kimberly Scott, 58, of Duncansville, was also killed by Michael as she helped prepare Juniata Valley Gospel Church for a children's Christmas party.
Lynn and Rhodes were busy men with families. They worked as truck drivers for Grannas Brothers Contracting Co. Inc. of Hollidaysburg and were men of strong faith, serving the Zion Lutheran Church in Williamsburg.
Lynn, whose daughter, Jennifer, was married to Rhodes for the last 23 years, loved to restore cars, and in recent years, tractors. It was just a few days ago he drove one of his restored tractors to a relative's house to help him haul wood.
Rhodes was an outdoorsman who loved to hunt and fish. He was most proud because his son recently got his first deer, Rose Lynn said.
Rose Lynn called Rhodes a "peacemaker."
"Bill would be there for you even if you were a stranger who needed help," she said.
"We couldn't ask for a better son-in-law."
She remembered a recent exchange that showed just how close the whole family was.
As the two men were cleaning the deer that Rhodes's son shot, Lynn announced he was going to bed. As he left the cellar, Rhodes said to his father-in-law, "I want you to know, I love you."
Lynn turned and said, "I love you," his wife recalled.
Rhodes added, "I"d take a bullet for you," his way of expressing how close he was to his father-in law.
It may have been a matter of speech, but it foretold of Friday's events when Michael, who frequently visited Lynn in his garage off Juniata Valley Road, for an unexplained reason, opened fire, killing him.
Michael killed Scott and then apparently got in a vehicle and rammed Rhodes' truck. He shot Rhodes, who died from both the crash and the shooting, authorities said.
State police, who had been called by Rose Lynn after her husband's killing, caught up to Michael and at Lind's Crossing, killed him. Three troopers were injured as they pursued Michael.
These are the events as Rose Lynn understands them, and in part, as she witnessed them.
Michael approached as she and Rhodes were in his truck getting ready to go to breakfast at The Dream in Hollidaysburg, Rose Lynn said. She would go Christmas shopping with her son-in-law to help him buy a Christmas gift for his wife.
Rose Lynn looked at Michael and said he had a gun "up to his chest."
"I thought he was going target shooting," she said.
Michael pointed the gun at her and fired. She ducked down into Rhodes's truck and the bullet shattered the glass, which hit her in the face.
She escaped and make her way toward the garage. Her husband came from the garage and went to Michael to talk to him, Rose Lynn speculated.
Michael shot and killed her husband.
She hid in the garage and called 911 for help.
Rhodes drove away, only to return later.
Friday morning's memories will not leave her. But in her tears, Rose Lynn said she has now found the strength to talk because she wants people to know about her two men.
"My husband never missed a day of work," she said.
Lynn worked more than three decades for Pepsi Bottling Co., Altoona, his wife said.
When he lost the job he loved, he was concerned but saw good in things and had worked for the last four years at Grannas Bros, where Rhodes worked for 14 years.
Company Vice President Scott Grannas called Lynn and Rhodes "better people than they were employees and they were really good employees."
They were "very professional," he said.
"We were really proud to say they worked for us," Grannas said.
The company has 110 workers, and the workers decided to clean up the trucks that the two men drove and will place those vehicles outside the Williamsburg Lutheran Church today in their memory.
"It's disbelief really," Grannas said.
Mentioning the Dec. 14 shootings in Newtown, Conn., Grannas explained how different it is to have such unexplained killings occur in your own community.
Rose Lynn is pleased the company will honor her family as it is doing.
She said she doesn't have any idea why Michael would suddenly want to kill her husband. The two had a good relationship, never a quarrel between them.
"I don't know what happens to people like this," she said.
Rose Lynn went to a bank Wednesday in Hollidaysburg with a daughter-in-law and as she was there, Michael's teenage son came up to her.
She gave him a hug, and he exclaimed, "I am so sorry," she related.
"I forgive your dad. I think your dad was sick," Lynn said she replied.
The whole family will pitch in to raise Rhodes's two children, Zachary and Katelyn - Lynn's sure of that, she said.
"I don't want my neighborhood to be seen as a horrible place. It's a great place to raise kids," she said.
She is also sure of something else:
"Heaven has two great people up there."
Mirror Staff Writer Phil Ray is at 946-7468.