Godfrey's widow recovering

Patti Godfrey undergoes surgery for gunshot wounds

Posted: Monday, August 05, 2002

Patti Godfrey, critically wounded in a weekend shooting that killed her husband, a retired Alaska commissioner of public safety, is recovering in an Anchorage hospital after undergoing 12 hours of surgery.

Meanwhile, friends and relatives of the woman police said shot the Godfreys before killing herself are asking how such a tragedy could have taken place. Karen Brand, 33, accused in the shooting, lived in Juneau in the early 1990s while working as a legislative staffer and as an intern with the Alaska Permanent Fund Corp. Brand was vice president of the Alaska State Chamber of Commerce.

Patti Godfrey was in critical but stable condition today at Alaska Regional Hospital. She underwent surgery Saturday to treat wounds to her arms, one leg and stomach.

"She has responded to members of the family, nodding her head in answer to their questions," her family said.

Funeral plans for her husband, Glenn Godfrey, were expected to be finalized soon. A memorial fund is being set up at Alaska USA Federal Credit Union. Donations can be made to the Godfrey Family Memorial Fund through any Alaska USA branch, said trooper spokesman Greg Wilkinson.

Police said Brand shot the Godfreys early Saturday inside their Eagle River home before turning the gun on herself. They said she apparently was distraught at the breakup of a romance with Godfrey, who retired in June as commissioner of public safety. Godfrey had since reconciled with his wife.

Brand's friends and colleagues said they saw no hint of what was to come. They said just two days before the shooting, Brand was on the job, attending to nominations for the Alaska State Chamber of Commerce board of directors and preparing for the statewide convention next month in Fairbanks.

Those who knew Brand recalled an intelligent woman with a steady work ethic. She had established connections - business and political - while working in Juneau as a legislative aide. She enjoyed politics, having tasted victory in 1992 as a campaign worker for Tom Brice, a Fairbanks Democrat running for state House.

"She always liked the political world and liked the trappings of the offices in Juneau, working with folks and meeting interesting people," Brice said.

Those who spoke with Brand in recent days said she seemed upbeat. She spoke to Fairbanks North Star Borough Mayor Rhonda Boyles a few days ago about arrangements for September's chamber convention.

"She asked me to do a welcome speech," Boyles said. "She sounded fine, happy about the convention, happy to be coming to Fairbanks."

Brand, who was born and raised in Fairbanks, had a degree in finance from the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

After her time in Juneau she moved on to the state Chamber of Commerce in the late 1990s, doing work for the chamber's executive committee.

"She was very bright, was energetic," said North Pole Rep. Hugh Fate of North Pole, who was a member of the executive board when Brand was hired. "She was cordial and friendly."

In 1996, Brand married Greg Helms, a Fairbanks contractor.

The two had known each other for a long time, Brice said. "He would come down (to Juneau) on occasion and visit."

Helms' father, Roy Helms, said there was no inkling of trouble between Brand and his son.

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