Janae Hornsby was "a ball of energy, a ball of love," said her father, Joshua, who found out Tuesday morning his daughter had been killed at Plaza Towers Elementary School.
He told CNN's 'AC360' "She was the best kid anybody could have," he said, his face lighting up as he spoke of his 9-year-old daughter.
Janae's name was the first of the 24 people killed by Monday's tornado to become public.
Her aunt, Angela Hornsby, said Janae was always trying to make people laugh. She could be sweet and could also be bossy.
"Just a sweet baby," Angela Hornsby said.
Joshua Hornsby said he went to a shelter for parents who were still searching for their children. He heard the terrible news in the morning, and it still had yet to sink in, he said Tuesday afternoon.
He said Janae's death won't ruin his life.
Instead he vowed he would "make his baby proud and keep pushing on like I know she would want me to do."