Georgia woman killed by gunman at Florida airport was parish stalwart

IMAGE: CNS photo/Woltering family via Reuters


ATLANTA (CNS) — Olga Woltering, a bedrock
member of her parish and the Atlanta Cursillo movement and beloved to her
family and many friends, was among five people killed in the Jan. 6 shooting at
a Florida airport.

Woltering, 84, was leaving
for a cruise with her husband, Ralph, to celebrate his birthday and were flying
through Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport when a gunman started
shooting people in a baggage claim area. Ralph Woltering was not injured.

Esteban Santiago, a 26-year-old
Army veteran, is charged in connection with the incident. In addition to the
five people who were killed, six were injured.

The Wolterings, who are great-grandparents,
have been active members of Transfiguration Church in suburban Marietta for nearly
40 years, according to the parish. Her funeral Mass will be celebrated at the
parish Jan. 12.

“Olga was one of
the most joyful, loving, caring and committed people I have ever met,” Father Fernando
Molina-Restrepo, Transfiguration pastor, said in a statement.

“This is a
horrible tragedy for everyone here at Transfiguration, especially because Olga
was so loved,” the statement said. “May God give consolation to all
of the victims of this tragedy and may God give eternal rest to those who died.
Especially to our beloved Olga.”

The statement
noted that the couple always sat in the front row at 5 p.m. Mass and had been
members since 1978. Ralph Woltering is a member of the Knights of Columbus.

Olga Woltering
met her husband in her native England when he served in the Army there,
according to Sister Margaret McAnoy, a member of the Sisters of the Immaculate
Heart of Mary and spiritual director of the Atlanta Cursillo movement. They
have been married more than 60 years.

were still obviously so much in love. They just demonstrated the sacrament of
marriage,” said Sister Margaret said.

Margaret recalled how Olga Woltering would tell stories during the Cursillo
weekends that would both entertain the group and offer spiritual insight. She
had “a wonderful presence,” Sister Margaret said.

she made the Cursillo, she got involved right away. She would do anything she
was asked to do. It’s a great, great loss,” Sister Margaret added.

“I was never around Olga when
she was not smiling and joyful. She always had a positive attitude,” said Glenn
Zipfel, who serves on the Atlanta Cursillo leadership team.

The Woltering family issued a
statement and requested privacy “as we mourn her loss and support our father
and each other in the coming days.”

“Olga Woltering was a loving wife,
mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, and good friend to many. She, along
with our father Ralph, is the cornerstone of our family, and while she’s absent
in our lives now, she remains in our hearts, thoughts, and memories forever,”
the family said.

“Mom’s heart and soul rested in
this church and its spirit-filled community,” the family said of her
involvement with the parish.

“She spoke to groups about her
personal faith as a testament to the power of God’s love for us. She will be
terribly missed by her faith community,” the family said.

Sister Margaret explained how receiving
the news of the tragedy was devastating.

“I burst into tears. You
couldn’t wrap your head around it,” she said.

The Wolterings had flown to
Florida a day early for their cruise because snow was predicted in Atlanta.

“I don’t know why God called her
home at this moment,” Sister Margaret said. “If anybody walked into heaven, she

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This story was contributed by
the staff of The Georgia Bulletin, newspaper of the Archdiocese of Atlanta.

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