ROCKLAND, Maine — Katrina Sophia Windred was many things during her 47 years: a professional horse trainer, an adoring mother, a competitive skier, a three-time cancer survivor and, according to those who knew her, an endless source of energy and inspiration.
She was also a homicide victim.
But on Saturday morning, several hundred people crowded inside a Rockland church to ensure that, in the words of her pastor, the manner of Windred’s untimely death “does not become the whole of Katrina’s life.”
“Now that your life has ended, we choose to honor the life you lived, with all of its sparkle and all of its shine,” said the Rev. Mark Glovin of Rockland’s First Universalist Church.
Saturday’s “celebration of life” service was the second memorial held at the church for the Friendship resident since her body was found alongside a road on the outskirts of Rockland on Nov. 23.
Arnold Diana has been charged with allegedly strangling his ex-girlfriend to death and then dumping Windred’s body. Diana, who apparently has a history of domestic abuse, remains in police custody.
On Saturday, every pew seat and extra chair was occupied inside the church sanctuary with dozens more people watching from the entrance or listening to the service in a nearby “overflow” room.
Tiffany Walker, a friend of Windred’s, said they would need a “huge, huge stadium” to house all of the people from around the world who would like to have attended but couldn’t. That’s a reflection of the impact Windred had on people, Walker said.
“This little, beautiful, petite woman reached so many across the planet,” Walker told the gathering.
Born in Knox County, Windred was the sixth child in a family that was passionate about skiing. As a young woman, Windred was a nationally ranked alpine ski racer and competed in numerous national junior championships.
She was just a freshman at college in Vermont when she was diagnosed with advanced non-Hodgkins lymphoma. Recounting that time on Saturday, Fred Hodgkins said he couldn’t stop crying when he heard his little sister was given just a 15 percent chance of survival.
But Windred would beat cancer that time — and twice more.
“Every day was such a light-filled, love-filled blessing,” Hodgkins said. “We shared the love, we shared the light and we shared the blessing.”
Later in life, Windred turned her attention to her other passion and became an accomplished trainer of Morgan-breed horses. Friends and family credited Windred’s success with horses to her ability to connect with the large, sometimes unruly animals.
A slide show set to music showed multiple pictures of the tiny woman showing her affection to enormous horses or of horses showing their affection to her.
Her battles with cancer and the aggressive treatment she received ultimately forced Windred to stop her work with horses, according to her obituary. But she filled her time caring for her young son, Osage, writing, editing and helping others.
Glovin said that Windred “was on speaking terms with death” for most of her adult life and went through many difficult periods. Yet she lived with gratitude and spirit and, in so doing, became a teacher to those around her, he said.
“She was always giving, too, an endless supply of generosity and acceptance and gratitude,” Glovin said.
Windred is survived by her son, five siblings, her ex-husband, Guy Johnson of South Thomaston, a stepdaughter, and nieces and nephews.
Windred’s family also has established a trust fund for her son. Donations can be made to Katrina Windred Trust for Osage Crie, Ein #27-6941065 and can be mailed to Pease Law Firm, P.O. Box 666, Rockland 04841.