Altoona native Dan Wiley is in Danbury, Conn., today to mourn the loss of his wife's niece, Lauren Rousseau, who was among the six adults killed Friday along with 20 children by a shooter at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown.
Rousseau was 30.
Wiley, a 1969 alumnus of Bishop Guilfoyle High School, currently lives in Alabama. His brother, Frank Wiley of Altoona, has not spoken with him since Saturday when Dan left for Connecticut after hearing the horrific news.
"And to think she got her job just a month before that," Frank Wiley said.
The last time Frank Wiley, a Bishop Guilfoyle assistant football coach from 1999-2002, and his wife, Bishop Guilfoyle Alumni Association President Mary O'Leary-Wiley, saw Rousseau was at a wedding in 2009.
"We never thought that a national tragedy would hit our family in such a personal way," O'Leary-Wiley said.
Dan and his wife, Carol (Bomgardner) Wiley, an Elizabethtown, Pa., native, called at 7 a.m. Saturday.
"We were shocked and saddened to hear the tragedy had struck so close to home," O'Leary-Wiley said.
An article O'Leary-Wiley posted on her Facebook page from The (Danbury) Times-News stated Rousseau was a gentle, spirited, active young woman who had many plans.
Rousseau grew up in Danbury, attended the University of Connecticut and then earned a master's degree in teaching from the University of Bridgeport.
The article stated that Rousseau had a boyfriend and after years of working as a substitute teacher, she had only recently landed a permanent substitute teaching job at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
The Starbucks where Rousseau worked for four years in Danbury was filled with flowers in tribute of Rousseau, photos posted by Rousseau's family show.
People all over the country who are connected to Rousseau's immediate family on Facebook have been asked to wear purple today as a tribute to her. Purple was Rousseau's favorite color, her family said.
"Our hearts break for Dan and Carol and their entire family," O'Leary-Wiley said. "I think that our family's connection to the shootings shows what a small world it is and truly we are all connected."