Sharing stories of Clara

Despite the snow and freezing temperatures, well over 100 people joined together in Kelowna's Stuart Park Thursday evening to remember Clara Forman and her two daughters, Karina and Yesenia.

The three were found dead in their Rutland home on the evening of Dec. 19. Jacob Forman, Clara's husband and father to the two young girls, has been charged with three counts of second-degree murder.

Candlelight flickered against the falling snow Thursday night, as friends and coworkers spoke of Clara's giving nature and sense of humour.

“The emptiness in our hearts, hopefully over time, will be mended by the memory of Clara and as the vibrant, energetic and giving woman that we knew her to be,” said Colleen Wood-Loewen, a coworker of Clara's at GoodLife Fitness.

“Clara was loving, caring, patient, kind and funny, with a quirky sense of humour.”

Lea Ann Dent took Clara's fitness classes, and described her as a “sweet girl.”

“She made it quite personal, not everybody can remember your name as an instructor, they see all kinds of people,” Dent said. “Clara was the type who always remembered your name, it was nice.”

Clara's young daughters were remembered Thursday as well.

“Her little girls, they were just always so beautiful and dressed so nice and they always had bows in their hair and she just always took such good care of them,” said another woman from GoodLife Fitness. “They always had proper snacks and were always happy.”

The vigil was organized by several members of Kelowna's Latin American community. Clara had moved to Kelowna from Mexico several years ago, after meeting her husband.

While Vicky Belteton had never met Clara, she said she is “in the same boat” as Clara.

“We come here for love or for work, and we leave our families, we leave our friends, and she didn't have anyone,” Belteton said. “We decided to be her family here today.”

Earlier Thursday, Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran said he had been “shocked and horrified” by the deaths.

“This should have been a time of great joy and celebration for Clara and her daughters,” Basran said in a statement. “Instead, family and friends are in mourning after their lives were tragically taken just before Christmas. On behalf of all residents I offer condolences to family, friends and all those who were touched by the kindness of Clara, and her beautiful girls, Yesenia and Karina.”

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