Lauren Rousseau's life was shaping up in the best ways.
At 30, she had a boyfriend, Tony Lusardi III.
"I called her `Busy Bee,' '' Lusardi said Saturday morning, speaking of the pace Lauren lived her life. "She called me `Worker Bee.' ''
Family learned early Saturday morning that Lauren was one of six adults killed by a shooter at Sandy Hook Elementary School Friday morning.
Lauren, after years of working as a substitute teacher, -- while working other jobs to earn a living -- landed a permanent substitute teaching job at Sandy Hook Elementary School in October.
"It was the best year of her life,'' said Teresa Rousseau, Lauren's mother and a copy editor at The News-Times.
Lauren grew up in Danbury, attending local schools before going to the University of Connecticut, then getting her master's degree in teaching from the University of Bridgeport. She lived in her family home in Danbury, with Teresa and her partner, William Leukhardt.
"She had so many interests -- music, dance, theater,'' her mother said.
"She was like a kid in many ways,'' her father, Gilles Rousseau, said. "That's why she liked working with kids so much. She died with her little kids.''
One of her part-times jobs was working at the Starbucks coffee house on Mill Plain Road. The store -- one of the busiest in the area -- closed Saturday.
Lauren, a gentle, spirited, active young woman, had many plans.
Friday, Lauren and Tony were looking forward to seeing the movie "The Hobbit'' then going to a party. Lauren had made cupcakes, with pictures of the actors in the movie attached to the top of each one.
Then Friday, as the day wore on, it became clear to Lauren's family that something had gone terribly wrong. They could not reach her. They did not hear from her.
Lauren was working as a permanent substitute at the school.
The man responsible for the shooting, Adam Lanza, had killed his mother at their home, then headed for the school to start his rampage there.
And on Saturday, there was a terrible emptiness in the house Lauren had grown up in.
"I'm used to having people die who are older," said her mother, "not the person whose room is up over the kitchen.''
Lauren Gabrielle Rousseau, 30, of Danbury, precious daughter of Gilles and Teresa Rousseau, died Friday, Dec. 14, 2012, with the other innocent victims of the mass violence at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown.
She leaves her disbelieving immediate family, Teresa Rousseau and Bill Leukhardt, of Danbury; Joyce and Gilles Rousseau, of Southbury; Matthew Rousseau, of Brooklyn, N.Y.; Andrew Rousseau, of Danbury; Nathaniel Leukhardt, of Waterbury; Emily Leukhardt and Marissa Belcinksi, of Bristol; and Hilda Sullivan and Andrew Leukhardt, of Providence, R.I. She is also mourned by Anthony Lusardi III, of Cortlandt Manor, N.Y. , the love of her life; and his family, Susan and Anthony Lusardi Jr., of Cortlandt Manor, and Jenna and Greg Strong, of Philadelphia.
Lauren was known for her exuberance, her love of family and of children, her friendliness, kindness and loyalty, and her ever-present smile. "If she didn't have a smile on her face, she was trying to make someone else feel like smiling," a longtime friend said this week.
Lauren was born in Danbury Hospital on June 8, 1982.
She was a kindergartner at Hayestown Avenue School, then attended Roberts Avenue School, Broadview Middle School and Danbury High School, where her greatest joys were singing and dancing in the yearly musical and teaching in the school-based nursery school.
She graduated from the University of Connecticut at Storrs in 2004 with a degree in English and psychology, and she earned a master's degree in elementary education from the University of Bridgeport.
She did her yearlong teaching internship at Robert Avenue School, some of it in the same classroom where she had been a first-grader.
She did her student teaching at John Pettibone School in New Milford, and later worked as a substitute teacher in Danbury, New Milford and Newtown. She was hired as a permanent substitute teacher at Sandy Hook Elementary only weeks before her death.
From her college years on she worked in catering at Fox Hill Inn in Brookfield, and the past few years she also worked at the Starbucks coffee shop at Exit 2 in Danbury.
Other survivors include much-loved grandparents Evelyn Martin, of Landisville, Pa.; Virginia and Charles A. Powers Jr., of Hyannis Port, Mass., and George and Susan Zaleha, of Monroe.
Lauren's love also embraced her many aunts, uncles and cousins. They are (godfather) Jocelyn and Ghyslaine Rousseau, of Danbury and son Marc; Carol and Dan Wiley, and Bryan J., Megan, Sean and Jackson Wiley, all of Alabama; Jon and Robin Wiley, of Colorado; and Kirsten Wiley, of Virginia.
Also, Jim and (godmother) Vicki Nagle; Steve, Brenda, Mark and Amy Bomgardner; Nick, Emily and Samuel Wiley, all of Pennsylvania; Pauline Leukhardt and David Fenner, of Massachusetts; and Ned Leukhardt, Elise Olaussen, Sara Olaussen, Elida Leukhardt and Annamad Hjortaas, of Norway.
Also, William, Deborah, Hope, Deborah and William Zaleha, of Derby; and Suzanne, L. Stephen, Jeanette, Andre and the late Christian Ward, of Minnesota.
Also, in Quebec, Canada: Lisette, Andre and Francis Binet; Jacques, Noella and Nancy Rousseau; Francois, Collette, David and Stephanie Rousseau; Celine, Claude, Sophie and Brigitte Jean; Jean Yves, Marjolaine, Jan and Frederic Rousseau; Johanne, Serge and Simone Ouellette, Denis, Alessia and the late Josee Gosselin; Michel Rousseau and Helene Guedon.
Family, friends and coworkers are invited to calling hours Thursday at 10 a.m. in First Congregational Church, 164 Deer Hill Ave., Danbury, followed by a memorial service at 11 a.m.