MINNEAPOLIS — Lindsay Overbay grew up youngest of three daughters in a loving New Ulm, Minn., family, committed to a career as a medical assistant, kept a tight network of girlfriends and at 37 was a wife and mom two young children who were her world.

So on Tuesday when Naiya Stubbe, her close friend since they met nearly two decades ago in St. Cloud, heard about a shooting at the Allina Clinic on Crossroads Drive in Buffalo, Minn., she texted Overbay immediately. Stubbe said her friend was always lightning fast with a response to any text or call. She got no response Tuesday.

Overbay, who was born Lindsay Wilfahrt, was shot multiple times by a gunman at the clinic and died late Tuesday, Feb. 9, after surgery at Hennepin County Medical Center in downtown Minneapolis, her friends and family said. She is survived by her husband, Donnie Overbay, an 8-year-old son and 5-year-old daughter.

"She was there for everybody and everyone. She was such a great supporter for all of us," Stubbe said. "She was always wanting people to succeed and really enjoyed it when they did. "

Donnie Overbay said he and his wife met at a bar in Las Vegas when he was an electrical apprentice. When he called her the next day to invite her to a softball game, he said she didn't remember him, which he said, "worked in my favor." She said yes to the date and eventually the couple married in October 2011.

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Overbay had moved to Vegas to pursue a career in journalism, working for a poker website, her husband said. But she went back to school to study to be a medical assistant, found she liked the work, landed a job right away and stayed with it when they returned to her native Minnesota.

Overbay lived with her family in Maple Lake and Stubbe was in Prior Lake, an hour away, but emotionally and electronically they stayed close through daily Snapchat messages and, when they could find time, video phone calls that stretched into three hours. They exchanged routine messages Monday night.

"There wasn't anything that could keep us apart," Stubbe said.

They met nearly two decades ago through a mutual friend when Overbay was working toward a degree in journalism at St. Cloud State University and Stubbe was studying cosmetology nearby.

On Wednesday morning, Stubbe started a GoFundMe campaign called "Lindsay Strong!" The page features a close-up photo of Overbay beaming with her children hugging her.

"She was the bright light in so many peoples lives," Stubbe wrote, adding that Lindsay had a carefree attitude and was attending college classes to further her career and provide a better life for her children.

She called her late friend "the most lovable human being. Her laugh was the best sound. It was hard to fall immediately in love with her," Stubbe said.

But they hadn't been able to see each other because Overbay's nursing work and risk of COVID-19. "She always wanted to keep people safe and we kept talking about when we could get together," Stubbe said. "That's what makes it hard, too, because I didn't get to see her because of COVID."

As Tuesday's events unfolded, Donnie Overbay brought the couple's children to Stubbe's house where the stayed overnight until he was able to pick them up Wednesday, take them home and tell them that their mother wasn't coming home.

Overbay "lived and breathed her children," Stubbe said. "They are going to be surrounded by a lot of love. They always have been. I've never seen a closer family."

(c)2021 the Star Tribune (Minneapolis). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.