ELKHART — Rachelle Bossnack Godfread was ready to refresh her life and re-plant longtime Elkhart roots.
“She was back up here to start a life,” said Jenee Pritt, a lifelong friend of Godfread. “She moved back not too long ago and was living with her parents. She wanted to be up here with her son and her family.”
Godfread, 44, was shot and killed Wednesday, Jan. 15, at the Martin’s Super Market on East Bristol Street.
Pritt shared a lifetime of childhood memories about her friend.
“We’ve known each other since we were little kids,” Pritt said. “Her parents lived across the street from my grandparents and she and her older brother, Vince, played all the time. And when we moved, we lived down the road from them. She was like part of our family.”
Pritt recalled the innocence of youth with Godfread — overnights in her home, summer bicycle rides to the pool at the Elks lodge, teaching her younger brother, Bob, to swim and “Michigan cherries.”
“When we were kids, it was a cool adventure our parents allowing us to ride our bikes to the Elks pool,” Pritt said. “One of the candies we always purchased from the pro shop vending machine were ‘Michigan cherries’ ... we thought these were the best candies in the world. She had such calming sense when she taught my brother to swim. She got him to go in the deep end, had him jumping off the diving board.
“Rachelle was a beautiful soul, full of positive energy. She was harmless. The one thing about Rachelle is you never heard anything mean from her. She had such an infectious smile and had a giggle I’ll always remember.”
Another childhood friend of Rachelle’s, Amy Mishler, said she hadn’t talked to Rachelle recently, but the two regularly stayed in touch on Facebook.
Most conversations had to do with Rachelle’s two young sons or Mishler’s children.
“Rachelle was very, very into her children — she was a family person,” Mishler said, adding Rachelle had recently moved back to Elkhart to be near her son Joe Godfread, who plays basketball at Indiana University South Bend.
Because of Rachelle’s intense dedication to her children, she didn’t have a lot of time for friendships, Mishler said.
Rachelle mostly relied on family and was close to her four siblings. Mishler, who has spoken with Rachelle’s siblings since Wednesday night’s shooting, said the family is “very overwhelmed.”
“It’s a shock ... you never think that something like this could happen,” Mishler said.
Ken Baierl, spokesperson for IUSB, said the university has offered counseling to students, including Joe Godfread’s basketball teammates and friends.
“The coach is in contact with Joe and we have made the offer of any help,” Baierl said, adding “We are going to respect his emotions and his privacy at this time. We are kind of standing by to see what his needs are. The IUSB Titans will play a home game against Robert Morris University at 2 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 18, and a moment of silence is planned “in honor of Rachelle Godfread and in support of Joe,” Baierl said.