"All I ever wanted in life was to have two girls. God was very good and granted me my wish," Kathryn O'Bara told Dyer in his book.
Kathryn McCloskey and Joe O'Bara married in 1948, a promising young couple eager to start a family. She was the daughter of the mayor of Johnstown, Pennsylvania. He was the Navy's middleweight boxing champion during World War II and went on to star on the University of Pittsburgh's football team.
The family eventually settled in South Florida. Joe became a physical education teacher at a Catholic elementary school. Kathryn -- Kaye to family -- taught math at a high school.
Kathryn's niece, Pam Burdgick, remembers her aunt and uncle as pillars of the family. She went to college in the mid-1960s in South Florida and would stay with the O'Baras on weekends. "Kaye was the personification of unconditional love. That was for all of us, not just Edwarda."
Edwarda, then 12, would watch her put makeup on. "She was a sweet, loving child."
Like so many girls, Edwarda and Colleen loved horses. At a nearby ranch, the sisters' friendship grew. "Colleen had horses, and Edwarda had a pony because she was always the cautious one," says Burdgick.
Edwarda did the hard work around the stables, allowing her younger sister a lot more time to ride the horses. "My sister would clean the stalls, brush the horses, let me have all the fun, and she would do all the work."
"That's what she wanted to do for me. She's the most giving sister that anybody could possibly have had," Colleen recalls. "She was my best friend in the whole wide world."
Edwarda was diagnosed with diabetes in late 1969. She was prescribed an oral insulin medication -- a medicine that is no longer given to adolescents due to harmful side effects.
Her diabetes didn't hinder her studies. A junior in high school, she got straight A's. Edwarda had been accepted to the University of Notre Dame, at a time when the school was mostly male. She hoped to become a pediatrician.
The family looked forward to Christmas that year. But during the break, Edwarda fell ill with the flu.
"She was sick and throwing up and stuff," Colleen says.
If Edwarda had been given insulin shots, her bad bout with the flu likely would have been just that, nothing more. But every time she vomited, she was throwing up her medicine -- and sugar was building up in her system.
By the time anyone realized what was happening, her health had deteriorated.
Joe O'Bara had just returned from a fishing outing when he went into his daughter's room. The skin on her legs had sugar lumps under them, like Charley horses. They were all over.
"My sister was screaming. I remember it like it was yesterday," Colleen says. "My dad started rubbing her legs to try to get the sugar to flow in her legs. He picked her up, and we just rushed her to the hospital."
It was January 3, 1970, when Edwarda arrived at North Miami General Hospital around 2 a.m. -- Joe and Kaye's 22nd wedding anniversary.
Dr. Louis Chaykin, who was on call that night to treat another patient, remembers seeing Edwarda and her mother in the emergency room. Daughter and mother were holding hands.
"I remember the words the daughter told the mother when she was lying in the emergency room: 'Don't ever leave me,'" the doctor says. "And the mother said she never would."
Soon, her lungs collapsed. Her kidneys failed. Her heart faltered, causing a lack of oxygen to the brain.