Educators of father and daughter from the Houston space killed in “Journey of a Lifetime” in Germany
HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) – A father and daughter who worked as educators in the Houston area for years were killed in a car accident during a long-awaited trip to Germany.
Leighan Cortes has been teaching sixth grade science at Pin Oak Middle School in Bellaire since 2015.
Her father, Randy Meek, taught at Manvel High School for 11 years and was a substitute teacher even after he retired. The two were planning a trip to Germany before the pandemic, but were only able to travel last month.
Cortes’ daughters said she always wanted to return to the country.
Meek was stationed in Germany during his military service, so he and his family lived there for about seven years while Cortes grew up.
“She was very dedicated,” said Jessica Cortes. “She learned German faithfully and it was so annoying because she spoke to me in German and I said, ‘Mom, I don’t know what you’re saying!'”
For all the family could say, father and daughter had a great time in Germany.
They called it “a trip of a lifetime”.
“She was so excited,” said Jacey Kerfoot, another of Leighan’s daughter. “Every time one of us talked to her, we’d say, ‘It’s okay, it’s okay, just wait until you get home. Tell us everything. We want to know everything, but now you’re having fun.”
With only two days left on their trip, family members said the two were in a car accident near Freiburg on July 19 and both were killed.
At first her daughters did not believe the news.
“It was honestly the worst day of my entire life,” said Kerfoot. “It was absolutely the worst day of my life. I can’t describe the feeling. I’ve never felt so much fear and sadness, to be honest. It was horrible.”
They said she was comforted to know she was with her father when she died and the two had wonderful experiences together.
In the midst of their grief, the family has to coordinate with the German consulate to have their loved ones and all their belongings sent back to the USA so they can be buried.
They sent documents to the US consul in Germany and learned that it will be weeks before the two of them get back.
“By the time she and everything she had with her is home, it almost feels like the grieving process has been put on hold,” said Kerfoot.
The family is eager to see Cortes’ camera to relive some of their mother and grandfather’s final days.
Cortes leaves behind a husband and six children. She was also a singer and sang with her church choir every Sunday.
Meek is a retired Master Sergeant in the Army.
Meanwhile, Alvin ISD published the following statement about his death:
“We are deeply saddened to hear of Randy Meek’s death. He was a longtime associate of Alvin ISD and taught multiple subjects at Manvel High School. His love for life was expressed in everything he did and it is expressed in ours deeply misses students and staff. Our hearts are with his family during this unthinkable tragedy. “
The family started a GoFundMe to help them through the rigors of this unexpected tragedy.
For updates on this report, follow ABC13 reporter Mycah Hatfield on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
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