Patricia “Pati” Mestas, 67, attended the festival with some friends and was near the front of the stage when the shooting began, her cousin Tom Smith said.
Mestas was a retired gas station, convenience store and deli manager from Menifee, California, and she loved country music, traveling and her family, Smith said.
“This was the best part of her life,” Smith said, adding she talked of having time now to be with her grandchildren. “I remember the almost constant laughter.”
Smith recalls spending time with Mestas in March after their last remaining uncle died. He sat next to her at dinner. “It was difficult for life to defeat her,” he said. “I remember her being able to talk about the good things, rather than talk about illnesses, like older people do. She loved to laugh, loved to smile — a big smile that would line up the whole of her face.”
Mestas leaves two brothers, three children, eight grandchildren and one great-grandchild.