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Shippensburg, Pa., Little League and wrestling coach among Vegas shooting victims

Bill Wolfe Jr. was at the Route 91 Harvest festival with his wife, Robyn, to celebrate their 20th wedding anniversary.

Bill Wolfe, far left, with his 2017 Shippensburg Little League team.
Bill Wolfe, far left, with his 2017 Shippensburg Little League team.Read moreSHIPPENSBURG LITTLE LEAGUE

Bill Wolfe Jr. and his wife, Robyn, posed for a photo in front of the stage Sunday evening at the Route 91 Harvest Festival. They were smiling, and they had reason to celebrate — they had traveled to Las Vegas from their home in Shippensburg, Pa., for their 20th wedding anniversary.

Hours later, Wolfe was separated from his wife as his family and friends scrambled to learn what happened to him when a gunman opened fire at the festival.

By Tuesday morning, the 42-year-old Pennsylvania father and youth sports coach was confirmed one of the 59 people killed in the shooting — the deadliest in modern American history.

Wolfe was a community-minded person known in Shippensburg as a Little League and youth wrestling coach, said Tony Yaniello, head coach of Shippensburg High School's varsity wrestling team. Wolfe had long been involved in Shippensburg's wrestling program, as an assistant coach and president of the booster club. For the last several years, he was head coach of Shippensburg's elementary wrestling program for kids in kindergarten through sixth grade.

"He's built a legacy as a coach in the community," Yaniello said. "There's so many people who are upset about this. He's going to truly be missed."

Wolfe and his wife have two young sons, Ethan and Trevor, Yaniello said.

Wolfe posted a happy photo to Facebook from the start of the concert in Las Vegas, so when Yaniello woke up to news of the shooting Monday morning, he tried to determine whether the Wolfes were safe. He texted an assistant coach who is Robyn Wolfe's brother.

"He told me, 'Hey, my sister's OK but she can't find Bill,' " Yaniello said Tuesday, recalling the hours spent hoping and praying that Wolfe would be found safe.

Shippensburg Little League organized a vigil Monday night on a baseball field, where dozens of families gathered to pray and sing.

The Shippensburg Police Department confirmed Wolfe's death Tuesday morning, leaving a community in mourning.

Yaniello said he worried about the parents of young wrestlers who had to share the news with their children.

"I talked to several of my varsity wrestlers who are close to him because they had him when they were young," he said. "They're all pretty upset about it. But, like I said, we have to just hold the family in our thoughts and pray for them."

Wolfe grew up in Shippensburg. His father, Bill Wolfe Sr., is a former borough manager, said Carl Bert, who worked with Wolfe at Carl Bert & Associates Surveyors.

Bert said Wolfe worked as a lead engineer of his company from 2003 until 2009, leading site design and development projects during a boom time for the business.

"Other than family, there was no one that I was closer to professionally and personally, as he was a friend and good Christian brother in the Lord," Bert wrote in an email Tuesday. "He was a class act in every way."

"This league is far more than a sports organization," the Shippensburg Little League organization wrote in a Facebook post about Wolfe's death. "It is a family, and that was so evident by the amount of support shown by our Little League families during this unfathomable time of sorrow."

Community members also organized a fund-raiser for the Wolfe family to assist with travel and medical expenses. By Tuesday afternoon, the page had raised $14,155, with many donors sharing memories of Wolfe.

"I've only been here eight years," Yaniello said, "but I certainly know the impact that Bill and his family have on our youth and, of course, our community."