HANOVER COUNTY, Va. -- Casey Rattelsdorfer will be remembered at a memorial next weekend to honor her life.
The 31-year-old Atlee High School and VCU graduate died in September from complications from COVID-19. Her memorial was delayed due to the pandemic.
"Casey loved her mother and father and family. She loved her friends and coworkers and spoke of them often," her father Ronnie Rattelsdorfer shared. "She made friends easily. She loved country music, wine tasting, the beach, and working out."
Growing up in Mechanicville, Casey attended Washington Henry Elementary School and Chickahominy Middle School where she played soccer.
Ronnie said he would embarrass his daughter by calling out her nickname as she ran down the field.
"'Go Doodle' I'd yell," he said with a laugh while remembering better days.
Later at Atlee High School, Casey stayed active as a member of the high school cheerleading team.
After graduating from VCU with a degree in accounting, Casey worked for several Richmond-area companies.
She was a bookkeeper and wore many hats at Wine & Beer Supply. That's where she worked before she died.
Casey started to feel ill in August 2021.
After several rapid COVID tests returned negative results, she finally went to the hospital where her COVID infection was confirmed, her father said.
She was admitted to the hospital the weekend of September 4.
She and her father exchanged texts every night.
Ronnie Rattelsdorfer received a text from Casey on Sunday morning, September 5.
"Good morning Daddle," the text read." New day, get to sit up again, they are trying to get me off oxygen, better night not as much cough up got a little sleep."
It would be the last time he'd hear from his daughter.
While Ronnie Rattelsdorfer was among the first in Virginia to get in line for a COVID vaccine, the rest of his family was less enthusiastic about getting the shot.
"[Casey] told me she didn't need it because she was taking [a vitamin supplement]," he said.
Ronnie said he respected his family's decision, which he believed was less about politics and more about the unknown impacts the shot might have on them.
Casey suffered a massive stroke hours after sending her final text to her dad. She was taken off life support two days later.
Ronnie said most everyone in his family got vaccinated after Casey's death.
So did one of Casey's best friends Abbey Shepperson.
"I [got vaccinated the day after she died] because I saw what happened and I wanted to honor her," Shepperson said. "I never thought it would have happened to her. She worked out every day. She was so active. She was texting the day she died."
Shepperson said she would remember her lifelong friend and vacation partner's love for the ocean, the sun, and her laugh.
Ronnie Rattelsdorfer said he would remember his daughter as a hardworking and artsy spirit who loved unconditionally.
"We will miss her smile, laughter, kindness, and tight hugs," he said. "I love you Doodle and I'll miss you for as long as I live. Daddle."
A memorial service will be held Saturday, March 26, 11 a.m. at Mechanicsville Methodist Church on Atlee Road in Mechanicsville.