Slain NIU Student Continues To Her Inspire Parents

CHICAGO (CBS) — Thousands gathered this week to say goodbye to the Tucson, Ariz. shooting victims.

CBS 2’s Vince Gerasole spoke with a suburban couple that knows a similar loss, and they say this is only the first step in a long road to healing.

A piano ballad that was one of their daughter’s favorites helps the Dubowskis lovingly remember their daughter Gayle, a young women friends are sometimes reluctant to mention because of her tragic death.

“In fact, it’s just the opposite: There’s nothing that brings me greater joys when other people bring up our daughter,” father Joe Dubowski says.

Gayle was among the six killed three years ago by a disturbed gunman at Northern Illinois University. The violent death naturally causes her family great sorrow.

Yet almost immediately after the 20-year-old’s death, Gayle was helping her parents heal – through the words she wrote in a journal. Found beside an open Bible, the entries speak of dreaming big, overcoming fears and Gayle’s desire to help others.

“In her prayers she talked about really wanting to do great things for God, and she hadn’t talked to us about it,” Joe Dubowski said. “I think that inspired me and encouraged me that my work as a parent was not in vain.”

“I got to know my daughter in a way I never really knew her,” Laurel Dubowski, Gayle’s mother, said.

The Dubowskis have watched the nation rally beside the families of the recent Tucson shooting victims and know the healing process will take time.

Joe has written his own account of the family’s recovery in “Cartwheels in the Rain,” a path inspired by the words of their late daughter.

Gayle continues to inspire her family on a daily basis in a way they never imagined.  Her father Joe is now studying family counseling at NIU. As he walks the campus, he says he always feels his daughter’s presence.

  • Roger Lamb

    The Dubowskis are a great example of how to deal with painful tragedy with faith, honesty and grace. We admire them as personal friends and members of the Chicago Church of Christ.

  • Janet Mansfield

    What a beautiful story about Gayle and her family – she is thought of often, missed and her joy radiates today!

    • Carmelo Guareco

      It’s Wonderful STORY about the DUBOWSKIS Family,,,I wish,every Person in this Planet,will have the HEART to CHANGE his LIFE through the WORD of GOD..Because I personally Changed the way I used to Live…No more Excuses,Lies,Cursing to others or living in INMORALITY,, If One of you WANT to do the Will of GOD,,,please check this, International Church of CHRIST,Look, What that the DISCIPLES do for GOD and People in this World,,,AMEN..

  • Thersa

    I have a read the first few chapters of the book so far – and they are so personal and honest – very inspiring.

  • Patrick Korellis

    The book lets you know so much more about how wonderful Gayle was and I highly recommend it. The Dubowski family are wonderful people, and have so much strength. They are truly inspiring.

  • Kathy Boger

    My dad passed away two years ago, and the book “Cartwheels in the Rain” really helped me to find more closure in my grieving. I just passed it along to a friend whose father died tragically in a car accident, knowing it will help her as well. I’m grateful for Joe Dubowski and his willingness to share Gayle’s story to help others. If you are hurting, you will really benefit from reading the book.

  • Julie Klepczarek

    Gayle was a great inspiration to both of my daughter’s. Her love for God was so evident in the way she lived her life. The member’s of the Chicago Church of Christ are so blessed to know this amazing family. Their faith is truly being blessed by our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

  • Jill Perez

    I miss Gayle so much and still remember her often. She was so easy to talk to and our age gap did not matter at all. It is very difficult thinking of the fear she may have experienced before her death. But I am so very encouraged by Joe & Laurel, their love for God and the family of believers is so strong and inspiring. I am so proud to know them and am really blown away at Joe’s inner strength to write “Cartwheels in the Rain” and attend NIU as a student. Thanks be to God!

  • Workout with the kids | Parenting Help in Arizona

    […] Slain NIU Student Continues To Inspire Parents « CBS Chicago … […]

  • Marian Slahor

    I volunteered with the Dubowskis at a homeless shelter last week. Mom Dubowski wore a pin in memory of her daughter. We discussed how healing takes time. I hope the world hears their story. It is tragic, but it is also a story of perseverance. We all need to learn from the Dubowskis. I hope their story is told more and more. They didn’t just learn to dance in the rain they actually dance…….and dance well!

  • Kelli Saindon

    I continue to be inspired by the faith of the Dubowski family. Having had picked up a copy of “Cartwheels In The Rain” at the ILC in Miami, I found it to not only be spiritually inspiring, I truly appreciated Joe’s gut level honesty in his and Laurel’s journey to find peace. I have to say – I was so engrossed in reading the book, my husband and I actually missed hearing our boarding call and missed our flight home flight to Minneapolis!

  • Carla Toth

    I really look forward to reading the book. Thanks for being so vulnerable and open with your life. I am sorry for what you had to go through but so inspired by what you have done and how you are able to help so many others in the process.

  • Sheila Jones, DPI

    As the publisher of Cartwheels in the Rain, I want to say that woking with Joe on this project was tremendously inspiring. He gives us all the hope that no matter what happens in life, God will always be with us. Thank you Joe and Laurel for sharing your hearts and your faith with us. And thank you Gayle.

  • Melisa Camargo

    What a tragedy, yet such a great story of Faith and healing. The Dubowski’s are true heroes to so many people and their treasure aawaits them in Heaven.

  • Susan Dollar

    A book I could not put down! I cried at ever chapter! What amazing faith the family has even after such a terrible loss. I am sure Gayle is so proud of them for staying strong and continuing her desire to help others!

  • Chris Walquist

    I have so many friends who are bitter at God because of tragedy they can’t make sense of–and who knows but that I may one day face the same challenge? In his book, Joe helps me see how a faithful man responds, and how God brings him through. I also appreciated his honesty in sharing what helps and what doesn’t along the way. I have a daughter in college, and the account of Gayle’s walk with God in her time is a bright light. Thank you, Joe and Laurel, for taking on this project and sharing your hearts so fully and honestly. You have done much to preserve Gayle’s memory–and how memorable it is!

  • Cartwheels in the Rain – A New Book by Joe & Gail Dubowski — Seattle Church of Christ

    […] see their CBS interview, CLICK HERE Filed Under: Articles Share |  Print This […]

  • Iris /Panama Church of Christ

    It is sad to know this story because as a disciple you also share your brothers and sisters sorrow however it is also encouraging, amazing and faithfull to know how God can help heal his children heart and convert a painful time in victory and Glory to his name. Thanks to God that he has used Gayles’ life and death to his Glory and thanks to Joe and Laurel because they have shared their lives and become stronger. We will continue to pray for you!! Thanks for your example.

blog comments powered by Disqus
Daily Weather Reports Delivered To You!SIGN UP NOW: Get daily weather reports every morning from meteorologist Steve Baskerville!
CBS Sports Radio RoundupGet your latest sports talk from across the country.

Listen Live