A baby boy has been left without his mother and grandmother after surviving a crash that killed them both on Highway 1 near Tompkins, Sask. Monday evening.
People in the small town of Shaunavon are remembering Loretta Hughes and her daughter-in-law Melanie Hughes for their love and compassion in the wake of the tragedy.
“When I picture Loretta and Melanie, they were the sweetest women with a gentle spirit,” said Pastor Joy Frenette, who became close friends with Loretta through her work at the Salem Lutheran Church.
Loretta and Melanie were with driving with Melanie’s son Monday evening when police said they were hit by another vehicle driving west in the eastbound lane of Highway 1 about five kilometres east of Tompkins. The 66-year-old man driving the other vehicle also died in the crash. RCMP said alcohol was believed to be a factor in the crash, but it was pending toxicology results.
Frenette said nearly everyone in town has been affected by this crash because both women grew up in the community, have large extended families and were actively involved in their churches — Loretta at Salem Lutheran and Melanie at the Alliance church.
“I just want them to knock on the door again and be there,” she said.
As a mother who raised four boys, Frenette described her friend as incredibly supportive, wise and insightful — someone she wouldn’t hesitate to call for advice.
“The time she got to spend with her grandsons was always a special delight,” she said. “Nana Loretta was fun and they always did something with her. She was very present with the grandchildren in any activity they wanted to do.”
Beyond her love for her family, Frenette described Loretta as a compassionate person who was always thinking about other people and what she could do to help them sometimes with a simple phone call or cooking a meal.
“Her love for Jesus and her family were the top passions in her life and that led her to be small, but mighty,” Frenette said. “She just wanted to bring the goodness of Jesus into other people’s lives that they would see they didn’t have to live with various struggles but that the Lord was there.”
Loretta did a lot of work with the food bank and community garden in Shaunavon and was also involved in mentoring young women through a missionary group overseas.
According to her obituary, Melanie was heavily involved in the Valley View Bible Camp and various volunteer activities through the church. She worked as a receptionist and educational assistant before having her son and took great pride in being a stay at home mom. She loved taking photos of her son and took up pottery as a hobby with her mother-in-law.
Frenette said both women are sorely missed in the community and a group of 75 people came together Thursday night to surround the family’s home and pray for those inside.
Joint funeral services are planned for Melanie and Loretta at the Alliance Church, also known as the Bridge on Saturday afternoon and will be streamed by video to overflow seating at the Salem Lutheran Church.