Sadness in spring

The loss of a local family in an airplane crash casts a shadow on the season

Ordinarily the arrival of spring in the North State is a time for rejoicing in nature’s renewal. There are few places on Planet Earth where the season is as intoxicatingly lush as it is here.

This year it came with a tinge of sadness. News that a young family from Durham was among the victims—all good friends—who died in a plane crash Sunday in Montana darkened an otherwise beautiful day. The accidental death of anyone is sad, but the loss of Brent Ching; his wife, Kristen; their children, 3-year-old Caleb and 5-year-old Hailey; and the unborn child Kristen was carrying is heartbreaking, even for those of us who did not know them personally.

Of course, many people around here did know them personally. Brent and Kristen Ching both grew up and had family here—his in Oroville, hers in Paradise—and he had a thriving dental practice in Chico. Their roots go deep in local soil, and they leave many relatives and friends grieving at their loss.

We hope these friends and family members know that all of us in Butte County share their grief and sadness. Our hearts are heavy, even as the flowers bloom.