By Ann Marie Shambaugh
Katie Giehll was a woman who loved animals, NASCAR and most of all, her family.
A 2003 North Central High School graduate, she drove to campus most every day with her close friend, Crystal Ramsey.
“On our way to school we used to pop in an Eazy-E tape and rap along with them and have people give us funny looks down the street,” Ramsey, now a Brownsburg resident, recalled. “We loved that.”
Reminiscing about her best friend in high school brings a smile to Ramsey’s face, but the last few days have mostly been filled with horror and heartbreak for those who knew Katie. She and her son, Raymond Giehll IV, 4, were murdered in their Zionsville home Feb. 17, Katie’s 31st birthday.
Ramsey described Raymond, a preschooler at Traders Point Christian Academy, as “smart and adorable.”
“That little boy would instantly light up a room with his blonde hair and big brown eyes,” she said.
Ramsey was the matron of honor at Katie’s wedding. She said one of her favorite memories of her friend was watching her marry her “dream cowboy.”
“When she met her husband, Raymond, something changed in her for the better,” she said. “He made her so happy. She seemed complete and happy, and then they had Raymond IV and she was even more fulfilled. She was a great mom.”
Katie loved animals and had an interest in becoming a veterinarian. She worked for Briarwood Animal Clinic in 2007 and 2008 and became a pet sitter for several of its clients.
“She had a good work ethic, and my clients trusted her enough that several of them hired her to come and stay at their house and watch their pets,” said Dr. Kim Skibbe, a veterinarian at the clinic.
In addition to animals, Katie loved spending time outdoors and going to the Brickyard 400 with family and friends.
“I never attended, but I know she talked about it for months on end,” Ramsey said. “(She was a) Tony Stewart fan. Big time.”
Ramsey said she hadn’t spoken to Katie in recent months, but she was planning to give her a call on her birthday when she heard the tragic news. She is heartbroken that she won’t have another chance to speak to Katie, but she will always remember how her friend loved and supported her through difficult times.
“My son was diagnosed with autism. It shattered my world but she helped me through it,” Ramsey said. “She was (my son’s) godmother.”
As the community mourns a tragic loss, she hopes that Katie’s selfless spirit will always be remembered.
“She always cared about others over herself,” she said. “She had a bubbly, happy go lucky personality.”
The family will hold a memorial service on Feb. 21 at ARN Mortuary. Those wishing to make a donation may give in the name of Katherine Giehll and Raymond Giehll IV to the American Legion Child Welfare Foundation.