RUTHERFORD, N.J. (1010 WINS) — Among the six people killed in Saturday’s tragic shooting in Arizona was New Jersey native Phyllis Schneck.

The 79-year-old great-grandmother and retired homemaker was born in Rutherford. In 2000, she and her husband Ernest began spending their winters in Tucson.

Schneck’ son, Ernie Schneck, said he was very surprised to hear his mother had been at Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords’ event when he got the sad news from the Rutherford Police Department.

“She doesn’t shop at Safeway. She’s really not a politically active person,” he told 1010 WINS’ Sonia Rincon.

1010 WINS’ Sonia Rincon speaks with the victim’s son

Her son said he had not been to Tucson since his father died in 2007 and was planning to visit his mother in Arizona soon.

Phyllis Schneck and her three children (Photo/Handout)

“I had just made arrangements to go out next Sunday to go visit her for a week. And I was really looking forward to it and then this happened,” Ernie Schneck said.

Phyllis Schneck married her husband in the 1950’s. The couple lived together in Rutherford until 1973 before moving to Towaco, New Jersey and then to Green Pond in 2000.

Following the passing of her husband, her son says Schneck spent 4 summer months in her New Jersey home and lived the rest of the time in Tucson as a “snowbird,” a term commonly used to refer to retired people spending winters in warm climates.

Her son told Rincon he hopes the man accused of killing his mother — 22-year-old Jared Loughner — is put away so he can’t hurt anyone else.

Schneck leaves behind three children, seven grandchildren and one great grandchild.


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