ALEXANDRIA, Va. (WUSA9) -- Fifty-nine-year-old Ruthanne Lodato was beloved in her Alexandria community.
Music was her life, friends say. A lot of that music played out at Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church and School.
She and her husband were planning a joint 60th birthday this year. They were friends in high school and got married sometime after that.
The boys and girls at Blessed Sacrament Catholic School prayed for Ruthanne Lodato and her family at their Catholic parish Friday afternoon.
Some of the grade schoolers and middle schoolers knew Ruthanne Lodato as their piano teacher.
"Our hearts are broken. Ruthanne is the gentlest, kindest and most peaceful person you'll ever meet. She was full of life and music. She was a beautiful person," said Principal Valeria Garcia.
Lodato was a longtime member of Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church, which is only a few blocks away from her home. She played organ during Sunday Mass. She once taught preschool and was the music teacher at the Catholic school.
Family members are asking for privacy but a family friend and neighbor read a statement to the media.
John Kelly read, "She was our family rock. We will not be the same without her. Ruthanne enjoyed teaching countless children in the last 40 years."
The community is struggling with how Ruthanne Lodato's life came to such a violent end.
Lodato comes from a family of prominent judges, attorneys and doctors. She was one of five children. She is survived by her husband, three grown daughter, three brothers, a sister and her mother.