Rebecca Smith, 34, had met the man she planned to marry. She was a recent hire at the Capital Gazette, where she was excited to work as a sales assistant in the Annapolis office.
Smith grew up in the Baltimore area and lived in Dundalk, Md., with her fiance, DJay Poling, and his daughter, Rileigh. Her friends and colleagues remember her as upbeat and dedicated to her family.
“She was always positive, said Carolyn Dedmon, a friend. “She’s just a goofball — she loved everybody.”
Dedmon said she and Smith were part of a community of women who cheered on a recreational softball team their husbands or boyfriends played in.
Smith was quickly welcomed into the group when Poling joined the team earlier this year, Dedmon said. She described the cohort of 27 men and women as a tightknit family.
“The ladies stuck together,” Dedmon said. “She was always talking about how excited and happy she is to feel loved and part of a family.”
More than anything, Dedmon said, Smith was devoted to her fiance and his daughter.
Rileigh “wasn’t just a daughter to her, she was her best friend,” Dedmon said.
Justin Rebbert said he worked with Smith in 2013 at Freestate Ambulance, a Linthicum Heights company that provides medical transportation services in Baltimore and surrounding counties.
Rebbert described Smith, who was a marketing director for the ambulance service, as a cheerful employee with a strong work ethic who was always ready to make conversation, even during times he was feeling low.
“If I or anyone else would want to talk to her, she was always willing to talk about anything,” Rebbert said. “It was good to know there were other people going through things similar to what I was going through.”
Dedmon on Friday said she’s organizing a charity tournament in Smith’s honor at the Carroll County Sports Complex
“I knew she loved her job and loved the people she worked with,” Dedmon said. “I couldn’t have asked to be introduced to such a great person.”