Jan Buckley first met Emil and Grace Diewald 12 years ago during a swimming lesson with her children.
“We all hit it off immediately,” Buckley said at a candlelight vigil Sunday for Grace, 20, and her brother, Emil, 19, who were killed Oct. 31 after the Lexus SUV they were riding in crashed into the back of a District 301 school bus in Campton Township. “Gracie and Emil grew up with my kids. And they were family to us. They were both so full of energy and wonder and love. They were always with friends. They both had so many friends. They both touched so many lives. They could be funny and they liked to make others laugh. They both loved fiercely their friends, their pets and their family.”
Buckley said Grace and Emil always will be remembered for their kindness, their positive energy and their loving hearts.
“One of Gracie’s favorite quotes was, ‘Good friends are like stars. You don’t always see them, but you always know that they are there,’” Buckley said. “One of Emil’s was, ‘When the sun comes up, I will rise.’”
Chaplain Jon Hubbard offered comfort to those attending the vigil.
“This candlelight vigil is by its own definition, and by our intention, a remembrance of Emil and Grace,” he said. “Our candles lit, bright and flaming yet small and all too extinguishable, will burn this early autumn evening with many emotions. There is sadness and grief, even anger at the loss felt here tonight. Our grief and loss have taken on the reality of names and faces, those to whom we have loved and cherished and with family dreams forever are torn asunder.”
Hubbard reminded those at the vigil that even though Emil and Grace are “gone from our physical sight, they will always be in our hearts and because they are in our hearts, they are forever with us.”
Grace and Emil were recent graduates of Burlington Central High School, which is part of District 301 in western Kane County, and residents of unincorporated St. Charles.
A GoFundMe page has been created to help pay for funeral costs. A celebration of life for Grace and Emil will be from 4 to 7 p.m. Friday at the Lord of Life Church, 40W605 Route 38, Elburn. A memorial service for Grace and Emil will be at 11 a.m. Saturday at the same location.