NewsLafayette Parish


Mother and son who died in plane crash remembered as 'kind' and 'engaging'

Posted at 7:30 PM, Dec 31, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-31 20:36:25-05

LAFAYETTE — Purple and gold balloons filled the sky Sunday in memory of Walker Vincent who died, along with his mother Gretchen, in the Lafayette plane crash.

The balloons, which were picked to represent the family's favorite football team, were released on what would have been Walker's 16th birthday, one day after the crash.

Leslie Jacobs, a close friend of the Vincents, says her daughter, who's been friends with Walker since they were three-years-old, came up with the idea to throw him a birthday party to celebrate his life.

"All the classmates came and the parents and the father came, and he brought the cake that was in the refrigerator that Gretchen had bought for him," said Jacobs.

She describes the Vincents as a close-knit family.

Gretchen was a devoted mother, wife and friend.

She was a member of Lafayette's Junior League and spent a lot of time volunteering.

Walker is described as kind, outgoing and authentic with a bright future ahead of him.

The teenager, who was a junior at Ascension Episcopal School, wanted to become a dentist and a pilot.

Just days before the crash, Walker's father and Gretchen's husband Chris, gifted Walker his truck on Christmas Day.

"On the Monday, they were going to get his driver's license, and he was going to be able to drive the truck for the first time to go meet his dad at the camp," recalled Jacobs.

That trip never happened.

"The last Snapchat was him on the plane, getting ready to take off," said Jacobs.

The pilot of the plane, Ian Biggs, also died in the crash.

Jacobs says the family had flown on that same plane for several years.

"He had been there pilot for 19 years, so he was a close friend as well," said Jacobs. "They trusted him, and he was was an expert flyer, so I know that he did the best he could to save lives."

Jacobs knows their legacy of kindness will live on.

"Anybody who knew them was touched by them," said Jacobs. "They touched so many people in Lafayette. It's like the whole community is mourning."

Funeral services for Gretchen and Walker will be held Thursday at 3 p.m. at Our Savior's Church on E. Broussard Road.

Visitation will be from noon until 3 p.m.