NEW ULM - A gracious hostess ... she was a lover of art, theater and history ... an artist ... she was stylish ... she had panache ... a one-of-a-kind person ... she wrote brilliantly ... a wonderful person who fit in with everyone ... she was everyone's friend ... she brought joy to people. All of these comments have been said about Bobbi McCrea.
McCrea, 48, who has touched the lives and the hearts of so many people in this community, was tragically killed in an early Saturday morning fire that destroyed her home and her business - The Bohemian Bed and Breakfast. Her two daughters Abby, 15, and Savannah, 3, and three others had also perished in the fire.
The names of the other victims will be released when local authorities get their autopsy reports back from the Ramsey County Medical Examiner.
Flowers, balloons and a photo montage of Bobbi McCrea and her daughters, Abby Wood and Savannah McCrea, pay tribute to the three outside The Bohemian Bed & Breakfast, where the three perished in a fire early Saturday morning. Fire and police officials are still investigating the cause of the blaze, and have yet to identify the other three people who were killed in the fire.
"It's a shock to the whole community," said Charlotte Anderson, who had known McCrea for many years through their work together at the Wanda Gag house. "It was a big loss to the whole community. She was very enthusiastic about Wanda Gag. She did a beautiful job impersonating her. She rode on many floats as Wanda."
McCrea did a living history/acting portrayal of Wanda Gag for quite some time.
Anderson went on to say that, "She was so unique and different. She was just a wonderful person ... she fit in with everybody. She had a positive approach to everything. She brought joy to people."
Anderson said she knew McCrea's grandparents, parents and siblings through the years.
Judy Sellner has known McCrea for 10 years through their involvement in New Ulm Actors Community Theater (NUACT) and also through doing many projects together.
"She was the most gracious hostess you would ever want to meet," said Sellner, "She will really be missed. Her door was always open ... anybody who walked into her home was treated like gold ... her coffee pot was always on."
Sellner said McCrea had a creative mind.
"The woman wrote brilliantly," said Sellner, "She wrote fluently and beautifully."
Sellner said she never heard McCrea say a bad thing about anybody.
"She had a heart of gold," said Sellner,"She was everybody's friend."
Sellner also said of McCrea, "She would say ... that we need to go on ... let's deal with it and go on ..."
Randy and Kerri Martin of Brainerd said in an email, "We are so sorry to hear of this. (the loss of McCrea)"
The Martins stayed at The Bohemian last month for their anniversary.
"Bobbi was so kind to us and her daughters were so kind as well," they wrote, "Little Savannah gave us hugs every morning when she brought us our breakfast. We had been talking with Abby about driving soon, she was excited about that. The home was beautiful because of the love that was inside of it. New Ulm is really going to miss them. The people we talked with that weekend while shopping had wonderful things to say about Bobbi. She was very involved in her community."
Paula Marti and her husband Georg worked with McCrea for years through their business dealings with their vineyard Morgan Creek Vineyards.
Paula said she felt McCrea really understood and supported them.
"We worked with Bobbi - she was such a supporter and promoter of the brewery and winery," said Marti, "I always felt so supported by Bobbi in our artistic endeavors."
Marti said McCrea had "panache."
"She provided that delightful hospitality and shared the stories and history of the community," said Marti, "She was a businesswoman in New Ulm. We're going to feel a great loss with Bobbi - her voice - she lived that spirit of artistry - that vision and artistry was very alive in the community."
Marti remembered the time that McCrea and her husband at that time, Mark Wood, came out to Morgan Creek Vineyards and talked about their plans for their Bed and Breakfast, The Bohemian.
"We had a real simpatico ... and kindred spirit with Bobbi," said Marti.
The Marti's son, Adam, even made some artistic and unique pieces of furniture for The Bohemian.
"She always looked so stylish ... not only stylish ... she just had panache ... she knew how to have fun and celebrate," said Marti, "She did it without embarrassment - she did it with grace and ease."
Wendy Monro, who writes a weekly food column for The Journal, devoted her column in today's Journal to her good friend, Bobbi.
"Today, I have read news reports and posts about Bobbi and the kind of person she was. I have read words like, "eclectic," "artistic,"and "eccentric," However, to me, the perfect description of Bobbi is "love." She was pure unadulterated loveand that is it! She oozed love."
Monro's column is on page 8A of today's paper.
Charles Cossey, who was a close friend and co-worker of McCrea's at Klamath Falls, Ore. said in an email, "As Bobbi McCrea was an integral part of life in New Ulm, she was also similarly involved here with us here in Klamath Falls, Oregon, where she lived during the 1980s up until the mid-1990s, staying involved in local theatre activities at each of the two theatres here in town. Her death has been a shock to everyone who knew her here (it was reported in the Sunday edition of the Herald and News, our local newspaper)."
There will be a "Celebration Of Life" for McCrea next Saturday, July 9, at 1 p.m. at the Linkville Playhouse, 201 Main Street, Klamath Falls, Oregon 97601.
"Friends and co-workers will gather to share memories and anecdotes about this one-of-a-kind person . . . a true original," said Cossey.