by Meredith Bauer / Pleasanton Weekly
A memorial service will be held at 3 p.m. Thursday at Casa Real in Pleasanton for Kate Steinle, who died last Wednesday after she was shot while visiting San Francisco's Pier 14 after a dinner with her dad and family friend.
She will be remembered for the way she regularly checked in with friends to make sure they were happy, the radiant smile she wore when she stepped into a room and the untamable spirit that drove her to far corners of the world.
Steinle, 32, grew up in Pleasanton and graduated from Amador Valley High School. She went on to graduate from California Polytechnic State University and travel the world. She returned to the Bay Area to work for a medical technology company in San Francisco.
She died last Wednesday after being shot by Francisco Sanchez, an undocumented immigrant. Her death has attracted national and international attention and sparked debates about immigration, deportation and sanctuary cities.
Her friends remember her as a brave, empathetic woman who was as fearless in her adventures as she was in her everyday life.
"She was so full of love and passion," said Nicole Farugia Tuite, who grew up with Steinle in Pleasanton. "I always connected with her strength and her passion, her ability to love, laugh and be silly and not care what others thought."
Her close friends said it's tough to describe Steinle.
How do you put into words a woman who cared deeply about others yet was never self-conscious about what others thought?
How do you describe a woman who was everyone's rock but always brightened up a room with youthful exuberance?
She taught her friends to be strong and to stand up for themselves, said Tuite.
Kate Steinle showed others how to love by loving them boldly and unapologetically, said Karie Chamberlain, a Livermore resident who also grew up with Steinle in Pleasanton.
She gave those around her respect, which helped them learn to respect themselves, said Nichole Artam, a family friend who was close with Steinle growing up.
She was basically her brother's twin, aside from the fact they were about a year apart. They would Facetime most nights and, at one point, had neighboring San Francisco apartments, Tuite said.
"Kate and Brad are the most unique pair of siblings I have ever known and their love for one another is so strong," she said.
She was the "female side of Brad," Chamberlain said.
When she wasn't home, Steinle was traveling. She visited Croatia, Turkey and Africa, and she also lived in Dubai for a while, friends said.
There was a restlessness to her spirit, but in a way that fueled her passion for learning about other people.
"She was in love with the entire world," Tuite said. "She was in love with life and with meeting all different kinds of people and connecting with them."
At least one person from Dubai will be traveling across the globe to be with Steinle's family this week, Chamberlain said.
Friends said even people who Steinle only knew briefly are crushed by her loss since she was such a vibrant, effervescent person.
When she was home, friends said, she was always looking for ways to show her love and appreciation.
When Steinle went to visit after Chamberlain gave birth, Steinle brought a personalized onesie with Chamberlain's child's name on it. For many years, she said, Steinle would go to San Diego every year to participate in the Special Olympics with a friend's special needs sibling.
When Tuite was homesick after moving away from Pleasanton, Steinle took a detour during a special trip to take a picture of her parents' home.
"That's Kate, just thinking, 'What could make this moment special for somebody else?'"
The day she died, Steinle was on her way to a party for her pregnant sister-in-law, who was about to reveal the gender of her baby.
"She was so excited to be an aunt. She would've been thrilled to find out it's a girl," Chamberlain said.
Artam said Steinle was the kind of person who would tell her family again and again that she loved them, just in case she didn't get another chance to say it.
"I don't think she left without her friends and family knowing how much she cared about them," she said.
Steinle is survived by her parents, Jim Steinle and Liz Sullivan, of Pleasanton, and her brother, Brad Steinle.
The memorial service at 3 p.m. Thursday will be held at Casa Real at Ruby Hill Winery, which is located at 410 Vineyard Ave. in Pleasanton.
Her family has created a GoFundMe page to facilitate donations in lieu of flowers.