Lauren Patricia Sewell's family was celebrating her mother's birthday the night her flight home went down in a wooded area near Kelowna on Aug. 13.
The 24-year-old from South Surrey was aboard a PA 30 Piper Twin Comanche, returning from a weekend in Penticton with her boyfriend, Jayson Dallas Wesley Smith, 30, and two others when it crashed near Brenda Mines. Smith was pronounced dead on scene and Sewell later died in hospital.
"When we didn't hear from her getting close to suppertime, I of course felt a little antsy," Greg Sewell, Lauren's father, told the Now. "I turned on the six o'clock news and the lead story was that there'd been a small plane go down in the Okanagan.
"I kind of knew then that it might be her."
Greg described his only daughter as a lovely girl, and while she and Smith (who went by his first middle name, Dallas) had only been dating for several months, they were very much in love.
"When she met Dallas in the spring, I think that they really connected and had a wonderful, short, brief time together," said Greg.
Fran Sewell, Lauren's mother, said, "I know she loved him, and I'm sure he loved her. He never gave her any cause to feel anything but real care from him."
Smith had recently graduated from BCIT as a millwright, and Lauren worked for Peter Kiewet & Sons while she studied human resources in a full-time, two-year program at the same school. She had a love for horses; he was known to frequent local skateparks.
Smith had an interest in aviation and Lauren had recently bought him flying lessons for his 30th birthday in June. Smith, however, was not the pilot Monday night. Greg said plane was piloted by a young woman with her instructor's licence, and the third passenger is a commercial airline pilot. Both are believed to still be in hospital.
"The pilot was a girl that is around Lauren's age that Lauren was friendly with," said Greg. "Lauren had every bit of confidence in her as a pilot."
Lauren sustained brain injuries that were deemed "not survivable," and her family made the heart-wrenching decision to make her an organ donor. Her heart, lungs, pancreas, kidneys, liver and corneas were successfully transplanted into eight patients.
"We feel very comforted to know that she lives on in those people," said Greg. "Our daughter was lovely. She was the most caring, generous girl and we miss her dearly."
Lauren's Celebration of Life will be held Saturday, Aug. 25 at 2 p.m. at Valley View Memorial Gardens & Funeral Home, located at 14644 72nd Ave., Surrey. In lieu of flowers, her family asks that donations be made to Peace Arch Hospital and Community Health Foundation.
Smith's memorial will be held Friday, Aug. 24 from 1 to 5 p.m. at Victory Memorial Park Funeral Centre, located at 14831 28th Ave. Cash donations will be taken at the door, and are also being accepted Coast Capital Savings branches in a trust fund for his mother, Pamela Smith.
"The only comfort we have is that our kids were very happy together, and we hope they're together now," said Fran.
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