By Tiffany Pelt - email
LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) – As federal investigators continue to look for answers into what caused a deadly plane crash in Hockley County Thursday night, families of those who died are preparing to lay their loved ones to rest.
Pilot Gery Franklin, 62, and Daniel Lopez, 27, both died instantly. Daniel's wife Christine and the fourth passenger Cody Brockman, a well-loved P.E. teacher at Centennial, are both in fair condition in the hospital.
The Lopez family says they're praying Christine pulls through, and that it's still hard to believe Daniel is gone. "To actually be there at his bedside, and to know that he didn't make it… was just devastating for us," said Maria Lopez, Daniel's mother.
A Frenship High School graduate and businessman, Daniel leaves behind grieving parents, Maria and Daniel, and a younger brother he was very close to.
"He was 14 months older than me. We were pretty much like twins, and 99 times out of 100 chances are we'd probably be together. He was more than a brother, and some of the values and traits that he taught me are things I'll always carry on for a lifetime," said Aaron Lopez, Daniel's only brother.
Daniel also leaves behind a family of his own, an 18-month-old son Lucas and wife Christine, one of the passengers on the deadly flight.
"The night of the plane ride they were together the entire time. She shared with us how the back of the plane was so small that they were almost on top of each other and holding on to each other. The beauty of it being your last seconds of life and knowing you're with the person you love," said Maria.
Daniel, like the other men in the plane, was devoted to the Catholic Church, and through ACTS played a huge role in helping others seek a better understanding of their faith.
While Daniel's life was cut too short, his family has no doubt that his legacy will continue to live on, and that he will never be forgotten. "He was a great guy, one of a kind. He was always willing to help. He had a strong passion for our business, and he was a proud father to his son," said Aaron.
Maria says Christine could be in the hospital for weeks, but they're hopeful she will be able to attend Daniel's funeral on Wednesday at 2 p.m. at the St. John Neumann Church.
Services for Gery Franklin will be Wednesday, Feb. 23rd, at 10:00 a.m. at St. John Neumann Catholic Church. The Franklin also request that in lieu of flowers be donated in Gary's memory to the Hockley County Relay for Life BG's team.
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