The family members who died in a plane crash Sunday in Erie were gentle, friendly and funny people, neighbors and friends said.
Tori Rains-Wedan, 41, and her three children died when their six-seat plane crashed in a field near the Erie Municipal Airport runway while coming in for a landing at about 11:50 a.m. Sunday, officials said.
Also killed was the pilot of the Piper PA-46 plane, prominent Erie real estate lawyer Oliver Frascona, who was Rains-Wedan's boyfriend.
Rains-Wedan's children were 15-year-old Mason Wedan and 11-year-old twin brothers, Austin and Hunter. A dog also died in the crash.
The Wedans were residents of Beryl Street in Broomfield since 2008, but the family moved from Broomfield to Erie this year after Tori and her husband, Bjorn Wedan, divorced.
During the six years the Wedans lived on the street, Broomfield neighbors said they added a pleasant and positive atmosphere to the community.
Next-door neighbor John Barkow said the children loved jumping on their backyard trampoline and helped watch his cat when he went out of town.
"This is still a big shock," Barkow said Tuesday.
After moving to Erie, Rains-Wedan rented the Beryl Street home to a family who moved in just a day after the plane crash.
Oscar Gonzalez, who is renting the home from Wedan, said he didn't know about the plane crash until people began showing up at his door as he moved his family into their new home.
On Tuesday, a contractor was sprucing up the home for the new tenants, and roses planted by the Wedan family bloomed in the front yard.
Gonzalez said he met Tori Rains-Wedan for just 15 minutes but felt good about his future landlord's attentiveness and upbeat outlook on life.
"She was all about making sure we would be happy in her home," he said, cradling his infant daughter in one arm.
Gonzalez said the deaths are a big loss to a neighborhood that spoke so highly of them.
"It's such a tragedy, just so sad to hear about someone who seemed really nice," he said.
One resident said the neighborhood is reeling from the premature death of their gentle and friendly former neighbors.
To add to the stress on Beryl Street, the neighborhood woke up Tuesday morning to find that another neighbor on the street had died unexpectedly, she said.
Neighbors did not know how the man died but said the street is filled with even more sorrow than before.
"It's hard to hear all of this," Barkow said.
Meanwhile, at Broomfield High School, students and teachers were processing the tragic news.
Mason, who had just started his sophomore year at BHS, was known as a jolly and funny classmate with great soccer skills and a talent for standing out as "the happy one."
Counselors and a Boulder Valley School District crisis team were on hand to meet with students and help them talk through the tragedy.
"We want to help our (school) family," said Principal Ginger Ramsey, who met with the staff Monday night to go over plans for how to reach out to students and families after Mason's death.
Officials sent emails to BHS parents to let them know about the tragedy and also let them know about grief counseling services that were available.
Students were invited to visit the counseling office to talk about their feelings or just decompress.
"In times of crisis, we need to stick together," Ramsey said. "I cleared my schedule in order to talk to kids. Not to press them, but just to be there. It's important for them to see friendly faces and know we're here."
Students said BHS had a somber tone Tuesday, when class resumed after Labor Day weekend.
Though most students had heard about Mason's death, it was still hard to talk about once they returned to class, they said.
Courtney Tinius and Emma May, who had classes with Mason, said he had a knack for brightening up otherwise-boring days.
"We loved that guy," Courtney said. "He always made people laugh in class, and he always had a smile. He also gave great hugs. Super-tight hugs."
Mason also was outdoorsy and a good member of the school's soccer team, said sophomore Luke Coffman.
Mason took his good nature with him on the soccer field and everywhere else in the school, he said.
"He was just a funny guy, you know, just good and kind," he said.
Christian Lewis, a senior, said the whole school feels the loss, even if students didn't personally know him.
"Teachers are talking about it with us, and asking about how we feel. It makes us feel more united as a school, and also brings up feelings from people who lost other friends in the past," he said.
Mason's younger brothers, Austin and Hunter, attended Broomfield's Birch Elementary last school year and started at Erie Middle School this year, according to Boulder Valley School District spokesman Briggs Gamblin.
Those schools also have grief counseling services available, he said.
Frascona lived close to the runway in Erie's Air Park neighborhood. Neighbor and pilot Tom Van Lone, a Realtor and former Erie mayor, said Monday that Frascona was an avid, experienced pilot.
"He was a really nice guy and a good pilot with a lot of training hours," Van Lone said. "He flew a couple of times a week."
Van Lone described Frascona as "full of energy" and called the loss of everyone on board "truly tragic."
Camera Staff Writer Amy Bounds contributed to this report. Contact Camera Staff Writer Megan Quinn at 303-410-2649 or firstname.lastname@example.org.