‘An angel before she was an angel’: Mother who died in triple homicide remembered as ‘a natural giver’

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LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — Barb Sougstad was one of three family members gunned down last weekend in a triple homicide, allegedly by her youngest son Daniel.

It’s a tragedy those closest to the family are still trying to comprehend

She was a wife, a mother, a grandmother, an animal lover, a nurse and a positive energy in the community.

Barb Sougstad’s life ended Friday, but her memory did not.

“It’s very heartbreaking,” said Kerry Miller, a former colleague and friend of Sougstad’s for the past 30 years. “Our O.R. family is grieving. We don’t understand what happened, we can’t wrap our mind around it.”

Miller and Sougstad were colleagues first, then became good friends. 

Miller says there was nobody quite like her.

“She didn’t have an enemy, she loved horses and dogs and people, she took care of her patients, she took care of everyone in the OR,” Miller said. “No one had a bad word to say about her.”

Barb was a giver by nature, say her friends and colleagues alike. She spent three decades as an R.N. working in the Emergency department at first, later moving to surgical services and finally in the orthopedic O.R. Giving to others is who she was, and what she did.

“She made these earrings for me just because she thought I’d like them,” Miller said. “I adopted a dog from an animal shelter and when she found out, she bought me a dog bed. She did those kinds of things for everyone.”

Those who knew Barb best knew her true love was- horses.

Ian Baese was a close friend, he stables her horses in Carson City.

Baese wasn’t ready to talk on camera, but did send an email saying in part:

Barb was an incredibly unique, kind, strong, loving human. We spent years living, loving and growing. Tackling life together hand in hand no matter what the journey threw at us, I am sure she is up there in heaven, holding everyone’s hand.

Miller shared one of her favorite stories too.

“That’s her favorite surgeon and he and I were taking a photo together and I saw Barb standing there so I invited her to get in the photo and the surgeon said ‘oh good at least one of you is my favorite’,” Miller said with a smile. “That’s how everyone felt about Barb.”

Miller said even though Barb had been retired more than a year, walking into work Monday felt surreal.

She’s still not sure when it will set in.

“You never know what’s going on with someone else,” Miller said. “You don’t know. 
“And you don’t expect it to happen to someone like Barb, or her family.”

Barb’s husband, John, and her eldest son Ryan were both killed in this same tragedy.
Funeral services will be held 11:00 a.m. Wednesday, Oct. 6th at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church in East Lansing.

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