GARDINER — A former professor remembers Autumn Bryant, 44, who was killed Tuesday in a domestic violence murder-suicide, by her “big, huge smile.”

State police said she was killed by her estranged husband, Kenneth Bryant, 48, of Livermore Falls. After shooting her, he shot and killed himself.

Police responded to a complaint at 16 Fairview St. and found Kenneth Bryant dead in a pickup truck in the driveway and Autumn Bryant, 44, shot twice but alive, in the home’s garage. Autumn Bryant died of her wounds at MaineGeneral Medical Center in Augusta.

A day after the shooting, which authorities also have linked to a house fire in Sidney earlier in the day, few additional details emerged about what happened and why. But a picture of Autumn emerged as someone who is remembered warmly and who loved dogs.

Barry Pearson, a former professor at Millikin University in Decatur, Illinois, from which Autumn Bryant graduated in 1997, said in an interview Wednesday that he could not recall her “without thinking of one big, huge smile.”

“She was always the gentlest of souls,” Pearson said. “She was universally somebody people were drawn to.”

The Bryants previously operated a small business selling dog treats under the name TriPom Chews. It is not clear when that business folded, but the business’s website displays a message saying the business was shut down around the time their marriage faltered. Autumn Bryant is listed as the registered agent of the corporation.

“TriPom Chews is no longer in business,” the message reads. “Working the long hours we have 7 days a week for 8 years has taken its toll. Our marriage is over and we’re shutting down the business.”

Pearson is mentioned as a mentor of Autumn Bryant, a theater major, in a story about TriPom Chews that was featured in the Winter 2011-2012 edition of the Millikin Quarterly. He said he always remembered her love of her dogs. Her business was named after her three Pomeranians: Xena, Roxy and Riche.

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