Texas hot air balloon victims were celebrating anniversaries and birthdays

Newlyweds among victims of deadly Texas balloon crash
Newlyweds among victims of deadly Texas balloon crash


    Newlyweds among victims of deadly Texas balloon crash


Newlyweds among victims of deadly Texas balloon crash 01:42

Story highlights

  • Brian and Tressie Neill were celebrating their 23rd wedding anniversary
  • Newlyweds Matt and Sunday Rowan took the ride as a birthday present
  • Tresa Owens worked at a day care center for 25 years

(CNN)A hot air balloon ride over central Texas ended in tragedy over the weekend when it apparently struck power lines and fell to the ground, killing all 15 passengers and the pilot, authorities said.

Here's a glimpse at a few of the lives that were lost.

Paige and Lorilee Brabson

    The balloon trip was a belated Mother's Day present from daughter Paige to Lorilee, said Patricia Morgan, the grandmother and mother to the women.
    The two San Antonio-area residents were excited about going on the outing together and sent a picture of themselves posing in front of the balloon, she said.
    Paige leaves behind an infant daughter, Mary Lee.
    "Unfortunately, Paige was uninsured and raising her 11-month-old child," Morgan writes on a GoFundMe page. "She was a hard and dedicated worker at La Hacienda restaurant in San Antonio."
    Lorilee leaves behind a husband and two other children, ages 31 and 16, Morgan said.

    Scott and Laura Douglas

    Authorities have confirmed that Scott Douglas died in Saturday's crash. CNN is seeking information about him. His wife Laura also was on the balloon flight, a close friend said.
    LuAnn O'Connor said she and Laura Douglas worked for the same real estate business in Victoria, Texas. Laura Douglas' son is in the military, O'Connor said.
    "She was really bubbly, always smiling and had that aggressive nature that you need to be successful in real estate," O'Connor told CNN. "Her life was cut way short."

    Stacee and John Gore

    Stacee and John Gore, of Mineral Wells, Texas, are among the victims, a family member said.
    "Yes they are gone. They haven't found their remains but we know they are gone," Deann Gore told CNN. " John was an awesome young man who loved the world and I know he is in heaven and happy Stacee was an amazing person and I know she is also in heaven. I am happy for them, but I am also sad."

    Brian and Tressie Neill

     Brian and Tressie Neill and family
    Brian and Tressie Neill had been married for 23 years and had two daughters, 16 and 20, according to a GoFundMe page set up for the couple.
    Brian surprised Tessie with "a trip to watch the sunrise by hot air balloon" for their wedding anniversary, according to the fund-raising page. While they were in the air, Brian sent his brother a picture with a message that read, "Can you see our reflection in the clouds?"
    The couple lived in San Antonio, and Tressie Neill worked for CPS Energy.
    A statement from the company said: "Tressie was known to many of our 3,000-plus employees to be a warm-hearted person who was always ready to help a friend and offer words of encouragement. She worked at CPS Energy for almost 25 years and will be missed by her many friends and co-workers she's touched over the years."

    Alfred 'Skip' Nichols

     Alfred "Skip" Nichols
    Alfred "Skip" Nichols, a resident of Kyle, Texas, owned Heart of Texas Hot Air Balloon Rides and was piloting the balloon when it crashed.
    Alan Lirette, the ground crew supervisor for the company, described Nichols as his "best friend, boss and roommate."
    Another company employee, Phil Ferraz, told the Austin paper that Nichols was concerned about safety and developed his love of flying from his father, a pilot in Vietnam.
    "He loved seeing the first flight through someone else's eyes," Ferraz said.
    Philip Bryant, a balloon pilot, told CNN he knew Nichols.
    "I knew him to be a safe, competent pilot," Bryant said. "He has done this for a very long time."

    Joe and Tresa Owens

    Joe and Tresa Owens
    Joe and Tresa Owens lived in Katy, Texas, and had three children, the Austin American-Statesman reported.
    Tresa Owens, 54, worked at Tiger Land Child Care Center in Katy for 25 years, the center's owner, Steve Sandweiss, told the newspaper.
    "It was her passion," he said. "You rarely see someone stay in child care that long, especially in the same place."
    Joe Owens, 43, worked at H-E-B's meat department and sometimes helped out at the child care center.
    "They adored their children and grandchildren, and loved nothing more than spending time with them," said a
    GoFundMe page to raise money for their funeral.

    Matt and Sunday Rowan

    Matt and Sunday Rowan
    Matt Rowan, 34, had just started working as chief of clinical trials for burns and trauma at the U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research, the Austin American-Statesman reported.
    "He loved to play volleyball," Trinity University professor Bert Chandler told CNN affiliate KSAT-TV in San Antonio.
    Sunday Rowan, also 34, worked at Crazy 8 clothing, according to her Facebook page, and had a 5-year-old son named Jett, the Austin newspaper said.
    The Rowans, who lived in San Antonio, were married in February. Sunday Rowan bought the balloon flight for her husband as a birthday gift, and it had taken awhile to schedule it, said Brent Jones, the father of Jett.
    "Sunday was a very social person," Jones said. "They have hundreds and hundreds of friends."