Daughter, sister of Nebraskans killed in plane crash extols the values they lived

Daughter says dad "would want me to view this the way he viewed death, as inevitable, but also something that people can reflect on and celebrate."

MILFORD, Neb. (KLKN) – A day after the death of her parents and younger sister, Whitney Chrisman said it was the memory of her father that compelled her to share their story.

“He would want me to view this the way that he viewed death, as inevitable, but also something that people can reflect on it and celebrate his life,” Chrisman said.

Chrisman’s parents, Bill and Christy Lauber, and her youngest sister, Regan Lauber, were killed in a plane crash on Thursday afternoon.

They were returning to Nebraska after visiting Chrisman’s other sister in Austin, Texas.

Whitney learned of the crash when her aunt called her husband, Colton, on Thursday.

“My dad loves flying,” Chrisman said. “But I think there’s risk with that. And it was my biggest fear that something like this would happen. And so when I saw the look on my husband’s face, I knew that they didn’t make it.”

Chrisman spent 15 minutes with Channel 8, sharing memories of her father, mother and sister.

Her father was the owner of Lauber Funeral Services in Milford. He helped pass legislation and testified on behalf of funeral homes and the families they serve.

Chrisman described her father as an outgoing, almost larger-than-life personality.

“He was great professionally, but he was an even better, exceptional father, brother, son, grandfather,” she said. “He loved flying, he loved boating, he loved talking and talking and talking.”

Her mother taught for several years at Pershing Elementary School.

“My mother was unconditional in her love,” Chrisman said. “She was a great educator for many years. All of her students loved her. And so that was something that I hear a lot, is how many students loved her and appreciated her and how many people she helped.”

Her sister Regan, the baby of the family, was a senior English major at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

“She was beautiful inside and out,” Chrisman said. “She was a wonderful dancer, was ready to graduate from UNL in writing. And she could impersonate anybody. She always made me laugh.”

Chrisman said she and her father used to joke that he, as a funeral director, helped the dead and she, as a therapist, helped the living.

She said she hopes to pass on values of faith, hard work and helping others to her two young daughters, values that her parents instilled in her.

“I’m really going to miss every single one of them,” Chrisman said. “They contributed to so much, but also had this great family life and values. And I really hope that I can pass it on to my family.”


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