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Exclusive: Relatives share stories of Kenosha County family killed in plane crash

KENOSHA COUNTY, Wis. (CBS 58) -- Four family members were killed in a plane crash over the weekend.

Now, their relatives are speaking exclusively to CBS 58 News about the tragedy. Parts of three generations lost, each victim special in their own way with so much still left to offer the world. 

"They had so much to live for and look forward to and it's just in an instant gone. It's hard to deal with," said Mike Deininger, the son, brother, and uncle to the victims.

Colleen Deininger was the unquestioned matriarch of the family. She was the pilot of the plane that crashed on its descent into Monroe, Wisconsin on Sunday. She was a successful businesswoman, teacher, philanthropist, and community leader.

"She could do anything especially if someone told her she couldn't," said Michelle Deininger, Colleen's Granddaughter.

"That's what happened with her flying. Some young kid that was trying to teach her to fly said 'Colleen you're never going to get the hang of this. Give it up.' That was the impetus. That was it," said Mike Deininger.

In the plane with Colleen was her daughter Lisa.

"Everybody liked Lisa. Everybody liked her. She was such a vivacious person," said Mike Deininger.

The two teenagers on board were Lisa's kids. Emma just graduated last week and wanted to be a police officer.

Alex was also on board. "Had this not happened, we would've gotten to learn a lot more about him as he grew. From the time he was little, he had all these friends."

Calla Ricciardi, Colleen's daughter, says the family is hanging in, doing their best to be strong for each other.

"When he said something tragic happened I just...the first thought I had was something happened to my mom. It's been tough. It's going to be tough for a long time," said Calla Ricciardi.

The Deiningers haven't gotten official word on the cause of the crash. They believe it was a power failure.

"This is by far the most difficult thing the family's had to deal with but I know we will become a stronger family because of it," said Michelle Deininger.

There are plans to create two scholarships. Emma and Alex had learning disabilities so one will be for students with learning disabilities. The other will be for female pilots.



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