LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - If you know the name Christine Whitis chances are good it's because of accused serial killer, William Clyde Gibson. It was her death inside Gibson's New Albany home last spring that sparked the investigation into him. To her granddaughters, she was more than a murder victim. She was "Mamaw" and that's the woman they want you to know.
"She had 75 years of a wonderful, full life," said Cara Adams, Whitis' granddaughter. "She was so loving. Unfortunately, she was taken very tragically so most people that didn't know her remember her for her death."
We should all be remembered for more than the worst thing that happens to us. Adams and her sister, Jenna Whitis, are making sure their grandmother's legacy goes well beyond April 19, 2012, the day she was found killed in Gibson's garage. They're starting Justice for Mamaw: The Christine Whitis Foundation.
"No matter what happens in this life, there's not going to be any justice for what happened to her," Adams said, "but we feel like through hopefully preventing this to happen to somebody else's grandmother or parent, maybe there will be a little justice in that."
The purpose of the foundation is to raise enough money to pay for security systems to be installed in the homes of seniors in memory of their grandmother.
"Our grandmother, God bless her soul, we installed one in her house after it was broken into," Whitis said. "Although it ultimately did not save her life, I know that at night it did give her a sense of security and we want to share that sense of security with other, elderly members of our community."
Whitis and Adams say their grandmother would want that too. A favorite memory: the story she'd tell from when she was a girl.
"They were so poor that their mom had to make them dresses out of feed sacks," Adams said. "They went to a one-room school house she said that one day a bully was picking on her little sister and she walked up to him and said, 'Pick on someone your own size. Leave her alone!' and he said, 'What are you going to do about it?' and she punched him straight in the nose."
That's the type of woman she was, Adams said, loyal and giving to anyone she met.
"We like to think of our Mamaw as our guardian angel," said Adams. "So we think whoever's homes we can help protect, she'll kind of, in turn, turn into their guardian angel."
Adams and Whitis have just started the Christine Whitis Foundation and they have big plans. To find out how to donate or follow the foundation as it develops, you can find them on Facebook by clicking here.