Police arrested a suspect on Tuesday in the killing on Monday night of 70-year-old Dr. Catherine "Kitty" Houghton.
Houghton spoke several languages, graduated from UC Berkeley and later attended Stanford University. She had a pilot's license and volunteered her services to fly sick people who needed medical care. She kept her plane at the Petaluma Municipal Airport.
The White Mountain School posted a picture of her on their website. Houghton was a board trustee of the New Hampshire Boarding School and was attending a meeting there.
Police say the 70-year-old Novato resident was stabbed Monday night by a stranger in the lobby of her hotel. The man was arrested and police are calling it a random attack.
People in Novato who knew her say Houghton was a remarkable woman who once served in the Peace Corps in Nepal.
"She was always so community minded and a very kind person and she loved traveling. She love to fly more than anything, I remember that. I'm so shocked I can't even think," said her friend, Monica Brett.
Bob Patterson works at the Petaluma Municipal Airport. He showed us her plane and said Houghton volunteered for Angel Flight -- a non-profit organization that brings medical supplies to the needy.
"With Angel Flight, what that is if anyone needs a ride to a facility that is too far to drive and couldn't afford to drive, there are several planes that participate in that and take you there free of charge and then pick them up when it's time to come home. And that was her repertoire…marvelous person," said Patterson.
Houghton also once worked for the U.S. Foreign Service.
Police say the man who stabbed her was arraigned on Tuesday in court. Littleton, N.H. police say this is the first reported homicide since 1999.