Geraldine Talley and her fiancé, Gregory Allen, went into the Tops supermarket on Jefferson Avenue on Saturday for a quick shopping trip. On their list: bologna, cheese and iced tea.
They walked in, passed the cash registers and split up: Talley went in one aisle and told Allen to go get the iced tea.
Not long after that moment, an 18-year-old white supremacist entered the supermarket and started shooting.
"I had to duck and everything," Allen said Monday. "Because the bullets are flying, so I had to dodge bullets, and I went inside the cooler. When I went into the cooler, the guy just went past me by like an inch. He would have shot me. I was lucky he didn't shoot me."
Talley, 62, was among the 10 people killed in the shooting.
Talley's family and friends remember her as a friendly person who was eager to help others in need.
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"She was a nice person," Allen said.
Allen said the two of them were talking about getting married. They had met about seven years ago while both were working at Transitional Services Inc., a Buffalo company that helps people living with mental illness and related substance abuse issues transition to community housing. How they met? One day, Talley asked Allen if he was single. And he was.
Talley, who had several brothers and sisters, was born in Alabama, but spent most of her life in Buffalo, family members said. She is also survived by two children.
Family and friends remember her as an excellent cook and baker. In fact, her favorite color was red, and she often worked it into her baking – red cakes, cupcakes and cookies.
At one time, she also was a program secretary at Cazenovia Recovery, which runs substance abuse rehabilitation facilities.
Joshua Kellick, who worked with her at Cazenovia Recovery, called Talley an "absolute saint," who loved others, cooked for everybody and was like a mother figure for many.
"Geraldine Talley was a beautiful soul," he said. "She loved her family and those that weren't family, she treated us like one of her own. Her loss is one that will be felt in the community."