Rutherford County officials say Angie Walker, 41, was killed when a tornado flipped her home onto its roof.
The storms hit the Christiana area just after midnight. Two other people were injured.
"It just is so surreal, you hear it all the time on the news and it just...you never think it will happen to you or somebody that you love," Sharra Shotwell said. Shotwell was Walker's friend for more than a decade.
Walker was an adjunct psychology professor at Middle Tennessee State University and a mother of two. She was married to Scott Walker, president of Murfreesboro news radio station WGNS. Shotwell said Walker loved her family more than anything else.
"I know she loved them so much and they were her world," she said.
Shotwell said Walker loved her community, too, and was always looking for ways to help her neighbors and to lend a hand to strangers.
"She was just a ray of sunshine, and truly you say that about people and you don't really understand what that means, but she truly was just light and energy," Shotwell said, adding that she would be surprised if there was anybody in Murfreesboro that hadn't been touched by Walker's kindness.
Now, Shotwell hopes that others can honor Walker's legacy by keeping her tradition of kindness alive.
"She loved everybody and we really could learn a lot from that." Shotwell said. "I think that's a lasting impact that Murfreesboro will have, that she showed us how to live."