SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Those closest to Rita Price, the woman who was killed in last week's San Francisco home explosion in the outer Sunset District, are speaking about their beloved friend. They're asking the community not to forget Rita's always positive, caring spirit.
"She's a happy-go-lucky person. Every room she went into, she lit up. It was her big smile and laugh," said Jules, who requested we use only her first name.
It's that effervescent personality Rita's close friends will remember the most. Photos provided by her close friends from San Francisco's Balboa High School show Rita's 1,000-watt smile was always on display, even after her near-death, paralyzing stroke in 2014.
"We didn't think she was going to make it. We all went to say goodbye," said friend Justine, who also requested anonymity due to shock. Justine recalls Rita still joking around right after she emerged from a coma.
But those close to her say it was Rita's determination to live that helped her survive nine more years. Rita tragically died when the home she shared with husband Darron Price exploded on Feb. 9.
"It could have been prevented, and we just didn't know. Of all people, she does not deserve this, not at all" said Justine.
Darron was arrested for drug manufacturing, child endangerment and manslaughter days later. He made a court appearance Friday and was released on ankle monitor.
It's a decision Rita's tight-knit group of friends simply could not process.
"It's upsetting," said Jules.
For Rita's longtime massage therapist Lee -- who also requested privacy -- he encourages the public to focus on Rita's legacy and not rush to judgement.
"We still believe he at least took care of Rita and her family and her kids. That we have no doubt about it. He did it faithfully for years, and that's all we know. A person is more complex that that," Lee said.
Lee asks the public to remember Rita's kind, selfless nature and how she was "our bright spot (of the) week. We looked forward to seeing her," and to think of her three children.
"I encourage everybody who listens, who don't even know her, reach out and help them," said Lee.
Justine and Jules echo the same sentiment as they share photos of them together during happier times.
"She's just genuine, there's no-one like her, no-one," said Justine.
A GoFundMe has been started by one of her friends and will go toward funeral expenses and caring of her children.
"Rita was a selfless human being. Her spirit lives on in our hearts," said friend Cindy Oliveros, who started the campaign.
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