Family lost in Sun Lakes crash remembered

Posted at 4:18 AM, Dec 02, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-02 06:18:34-05

The Ahwatukee and Sun Lakes communities honored and remembered those killed in a Sun Lakes car crash Tuesday afternoon with a prayer service at Family of Christ Lutheran Church.

The crash is still under investigation, but the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office confirms 32-year-old Secundino Fabela, the driver in the other car, traveled left of center, veering into the other lane.

ABC15 has learned a heartbreaking revelation about the two sweethearts killed. They died together exactly one week after they renewed their vows on their wedding anniversary.

Frank and Ella 'Darlene' Hooper had been coming Family of Christ Lutheran Church since it was built back in 1982. They were pillars of the church, everyone knew and loved them.

"It was magical, it really was."

Magical is just one way to describe what happened at the church the Sunday before last.

Frank Hooper wanted to do something special for his bride of 62 years. Pastor Wade Butler had the perfect idea. The two would renew their vows.

Frank and other family members surprised Darlene in the middle of Sunday service with a wedding.

"Once he got up in front of me," Butler said. "Her granddaughters started dropping flowers down the aisle."

It was an emotional, romantic scene.

"When they just got up, very quietly he said 'will you marry me?'"

The lovebirds couldn't look away from each other.

"Their kiss," Butler explained. "You may kiss the bride. I almost had to say, 'that's enough.'"

Now just days later, the family has to plan for a different service.

"This is where faith and reason don't match, where we have to say we don't understand why."

Pastor Butler said Frank and Darlene had a fairytale marriage, one that will continue to inspire others, even now that that they're gone.

"They said to the family more than once, you need to pray that we go together because we can't stand being apart."