About this Site

On July 22, 2011, Robert Howard, Ana Maria Dias, and their children Sam and Veronica, were killed in a car accident in Canada. This website was set up to share information as it becomes available and to share memories of our wonderful family members and friends. For more information, please email ranstrust@gmail.com.

Give us patience and faith
at this time of our loss,
so that we may come to understand
the wonder of mercy,
and the mystery of love.

62 thoughts on “About this Site

  1. Truly a devastating loss to all who knew and loved this wonderful family. There are no words to express what has been taken. We will miss them.

  2. We are so sad and still in disbelief of the loss of the wonderful family that we came to know since our son, David started El Carmelo at the same year that Sam did. Sorrow is beyond words. Our condolence to both sides of the families. We loved them and we’ll always remember them.


  3. It is almost impossible to accept this terrible tragedy has happened. We talked to Robert and Ana=Maria last weekend and they were so excited about their trip and looking forward to it The had two beautiful and intelligent little girls who would have had such wonderful lives ahead of them. We will miss all of them and think of them often.

  4. I’m from bc canada and do not know the family but I wish to express my sorrow and sympathy for such a beautiful family that was taken far to soon.

  5. To their Family,

    Our deepest condolences for your tragic loss. As members of the El Carmelo community we feel shocked and saddened for this tragedy. May God give you the strength and consolation so much needed in this difficult moment of your lives. We’ll keep you and the Howards in our prayers.

    With sorrow,

    Amparito, Jorge, Jorge Jr., and Veronica Zuniga

  6. I was good friends with Ana Maria from her engineering days and met Robert, attended their wedding, met their daughters. They were always so gracious, kind, always trying to do the right thing. This is a big loss for me and everyone who knows them. Please let me know if there’s anything I can do. I feel so sad that they are no longer in this world. They were great lights …

  7. We are so saddened by the loss of Sam, Nica, Ana Maria and Robert. We send good wishes and love to their families and those who love them. We are happy to have had the chance to know them while they were here. We will miss them and their omnipresent smiles.

  8. I am devastated by the news. I will remember Robert from my time working with him at Apple for his friendliness as much as his talents and his energy. The world will miss him and his family dearly…

  9. On behalf of my Alberta family I wish to express my deepest sympathies to the family and friends of this beautiful family. I only wish their vacation to Canada had been a fabulous one full of amazing memories and stories. How tragic for such a young family to be taken away so horribly and far from home. Please know many Canadians are sending their thoughts and prayers your way as you prepare to say goodbye.

  10. Jean and I were horrified and deeply saddened to hear about this. We will be holding the whole family in our thoughts and prayers. Please let us know if there is anything we can do for you.

  11. We are so saddened by the news of this tragedy. We have known Robert and Ana Maria and their two beautiful daughters since our children attended Pre-School Family together. We will always remember their creativity, hospitality, generosity, and wonderful sense of humor.

  12. I have not seen the Howard-Dias family in a few years, but I have thought of them often. They were an inspiration to me when I watched them with their children, and I loved when Ana-Maria would give me advice on motherhood. Sam and Nica were two of the sweetest girls I’ve ever had the privilege to meet. I pray for peace in this for the friends and family, and hope they can find comfort that this amazing family is resting eternally with each other. My heart is sad today.

  13. Our deepest sympathies for the family of Robert, Ana-Maria, Sam and Nica. We travel that highway frequently as we have a cabin in the Invermere area, and never again will we be able to drive past Olive Lake without thinking of them. May it give you some comfort to know that many strangers are thinking of them, and of you.

  14. My heart goes out to the friends and family of the Howards. I know what you are going through. On August 10, 1961 we lost my uncle and his entire family in a motor accident in Michigan. My uncle, his wife, two young children and his wife’s mother. I was a 10-year old at the time, but saw the hole that such an unbelievable loss leaves in the heart of the family. We are Canadians and like you, had to deal with cross border issues which can make the situation even more difficult. The kindness extended to our family by the RCMP and the local American police both in Michigan and in Chicago, where my uncle lived, has never been forgotten. I pray that your family can find strength and comfort in the days and years ahead. Thinking of you all at this very sad time, with sincere sorrow at the tremendous loss you have suffered.

  15. sam i cried for you so much. i love you and you brought so much happiness and joy to my life. i miss you so much:'( rest in peace

  16. What a senseless and tragic accident. My thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends they leave behind. May your suffering be overshadowed by the memories of laughter and the good times you shared.

  17. On behalf of myself and my family, I send condolences to the family and friends of this wonderful family. Such a tragic loss, words cannot be enough but must do.
    I’m very saddened by this, along with all Canadians. May they Rest In Peace

  18. Im from Vancouver and want to express my deepest sadness of this tragedy. In the news every day I see stories about people who have died from what ever events, and have become numb to most of these kinds of stories. Yet this one was still able to bring out a emotional sadness for me because it was so senseless and so devastating. I hope the rest of the family can one day recover from the loss. I couldn’t imagine what it feels like to lose a entire family at one go. Its just so horrible :'(

  19. Robert had many friends in the Bay Area design community, and I am one of them. I am so sad – he will be missed.

  20. I didn’t know the family but my dear friend Jennifer Mutz and her family were friends of the Howards. I would like to share my condolences with the family, friends and community that mourns their loss. Clearly, they have touched so many people and everyone that knew them was lucky.

  21. We are Canadians who have travelled that stretch of highway many times and we are very saddened by the tragedy that has happend to this precious family. We extend our deepest sympathies to the family and friends of the Diaz family with a prayer for strength and grace to face the coming days without the Diaz family and how to deal with their great loss.

  22. Just want to say
    Heard about this on our local news as i am from BC Canada and was devastated
    Family and kids were way to young to parish like this
    Our deepest condolences to there family and friends in this hard time

    I do have 4 kids of my own all under the age of 9 and dont know what i would do if this happen to mine

    i am also a coach of a lil kids softball team and our last game on sunday before the game started we actually had a moment of silence in your guys honour

    God Bless you ๐Ÿ™

  23. With profound sympathy we extend condolences on an unfathomable loss. We were close by when this happened. The next morning, as we unavoidably drove by Olive Lake, our hearts filled with a heavy saddness for the family and those who will be missing them. May you find peace in their memories and the joy they brought to your world.

  24. I am deeply saddened. Ana Maria was such a wonderful person, full of joy, kindness and love. I will remember her always as such. My tribute to her and her family is my commitment to live my life fully, always loving my wife and children. That’s the way she lived.

    You’ll be missed. May you all rest together and in peace.

  25. I know this family well. They were customers of mine, and always very friendly. The whole family was a delight to serve. I am truly saddened by the loss of this entire beautiful family. On behalf of myself, and those I work with and waited on them as well, we wish to extend our deepest condolences to anyone, and everyone that was blessed to have known this family.

  26. I was so lucky to know this family … they enhanced my life by giving me a year with their beautiful daughter Nica during her year in 1st grade. Ana-Maria brought so much love and devotion to El Carmelo … They will be forever missed.

  27. I did not know this family but I am so saddened by what has happened. I am a Canadian from Quebec, I have travelled that highway before and know it can be treacherous. Such a senseless loss of life. My thoughts are with those who must now go one without them.

  28. Howrard’s were the family memebrs of Palo Alto Family YMCA , Ross Rd, Palo Alto. Our members and staff are in a great shock when we read the news and tryly saddened by this incedence. Our condolescence to the family, friends and community of Palo Alto.

  29. From the foothills of the Canadian Rockies,I we send our deep and sincere condolances to the friends and families of this fine family.Losses such as this are always devastaing.That they died so far from home,and while on a family vacation makes it even more difficult to accept.As a Canadian,all I can hope for now is that my fellow Canadians made them feel welcome in BC,and that the grandeur and majesty of the Rocky Mountains made their last days on earth as warm,freindly,and exciting as they could possibly have been.We are mourning the loss of people we would consider as our friends too,and share your grief.
    Robert,Ana-Maria,Samantha,and Veronica.REST IN PEACE.You will all be missed by so many.

  30. Our deepest condolences to the Howard family. How can one cope with such a sudden, devastating loss? You are in our thoughts.

  31. Without knowing these people or having even visited Palo Alto, I was moved to comment. I saw this story pop up in my twitter feed and followed the link. It’s a real tragedy and makes you think about the important things in life. My condolences and sympathies from the UK to all that knew what seems to me like a wonderful, gorgeous family. May they rest in peace. ๐Ÿ™

  32. I didn’t know the family but it is clear that they were loved. From Ontario, Canada, I send my deepest condolences to those they have left behind. God bless all of you in this time of need.
    If I could, I would hug you all.
    Ontario, Canada

  33. I was a high school friend of Robert’s. I haven’t been in contact with him very much since that time, but I’m deeply saddened by this tragic loss. He was a terrific friend.
    My thoughts go out to all of his family and friends.

    • Ditto Bruno…its so sad that we lost touch…all of us. He’s a guy that I would call an everyday hero…and his wife too… I wish I knew them.

  34. I was shocked and devastated to learn of this unfathomable tragedy. Robert’s father Ron has been my colleague for more than 20 years. We are holding Ron and the entire extended family and friends of this beautiful family in our prayers. That Robert and Ana-Maria made a deep and lasting impression on the community is obvious from the wonderful tributes on this site.

  35. We are so sorry for your loss. Our family was about 10 minutes behind the truck going into Radium and our hearts broke as the news spread of the fatalities involved in the accident. We are deeply saddened for a family lost too soon. Our thoughts are with you at this time and know that there are many strangers who are thinking of you.

  36. I know that Canadians across Alberta and BC are very saddened by your loss. Our deepest condolences to their family and friends. I was there about a week before the accident and shot this video and we just put it online so people could appreciate what the terrain and the road is like at this location: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RIaO9oFXuR4

  37. An immeasurable loss to the families, designers, and communities in the bay area. Our deepest condolences. — The Bishop family

  38. As I read these comments I am overwhelmed with sadness at such a loss. I remember wonderful times of joy with Ana-Maria and Robert and their two lovely girls when they visited family in Seattle, WA. Gatherings filled with laughter, dancing, and the sharing of meals prepared with love. We hold your family in our hearts. Our special candle is lit – sending love and strength to you all.

  39. I consider Robert Howard a good friend from Paly (Palo Alto High School). Robert was sensitive, had a big heart, and always strived for everyone to be happy. His sense of humor made it really easy to get to know him.

    This tragedy really hits close to home and โ€œit will never happen to meโ€, as my children are the same ages and we just returned from our family vacation on the road.

    My wife met Robert at a Paly reunion when Robert opened his home to his friends. At that time, we both had pre-toddler children and relatively new wives. We shared stories and compared notes.

    I empathize for the Howard family as I experienced a similar catastrophe one day before my birthday 17 years ago involving my father, his new bride, and a jack-knifed truck on rain-slick road. However, in this case I feel for the Howards who must make sense of the penultimate pain of the loss of children.

    The world has lost a great guy.

  40. So sad to hear this tragic news…Fabia F. just emailed me today. My heart aches for you, their families…Robert was a great kid, I remember him from high school…part of the nerd bunch at Paly…we did have some fun times…in the math science center and beyond. John– my deepest sympathies..
    Katherine Schaefer (Cleland)..

  41. As friends of Kim Saxe’, we want to express my sincere condolences to the extended family. I have been an admirer of the Howard family from afar and am deeply saddened by this tragedy. Our hearts go out to you. Our deepest sympathies,
    Grace and Steve Voorhis

  42. We know of Robert’s family, through his father Ron, who has been a collegue, friend, and mentor for years. We have children the same age, so this particular, senseless tragedy hits home. To Ron, and the extended Howard family, our deepest condolences. Our thoughts and prayers to you all. Jim and Gina

  43. I am sickened by this news.
    I taught Sam hip-hop my first year at El Carmelo, and she was as helpful as ever, and super sweet. She always came by my class in years after to say hello and would bring Nica along. And just a couple of months ago, I ran into Ana-Maria at the grocery store. I had my one-year old son Indra with me, and she was in a rush because Samantha was home sick from school and needed some โ€œTLCโ€ items. I so distinctly remember this last encounter with her, as she was marveling over Indra and commenting on how quickly they grow and to enjoy every minute. As you can imagine, that conversation now has a whole new eerie significance.
    My heart is broken.
    I can only say that I will never forget the bright light these lovely people shared with us all. And they will inspire me with their spirit, which will never die.

  44. I live in the Columbia Valley, Canada and send my condolences to all who knew of this wonderful family. May you always remember their laughter, smiles and all of the good times.

  45. As a family we have travelled the Radium highway many times to spend time together in the back drop of the mountains. There is a sign as you enter Radium that reads “the mountains shall bring peace to the people”. I hope that your family finds peace and on behalf of my entire family I extend a big hug to all of you feeling this loss.

  46. While I share in your grief, as does the entire community, my memories of the girls visits to the doctor can be expressed in a single word: Fun. As any parent knows a visit to the doctor can be far from fun. However, while several visits could not have been enjoyable and one certainly wasn’t, I still recall how engaging and playful the girls were. I remember Mrs. Howard ( I didn’t know she went by her maiden name until I read the newspaper) as a devoted mother, who seemed to allow her girls to find the their own way. She rarely sought my advice, except to affirm that the girls’ behavior in the exam room was appropriate. They were lovely girls and I would chuckle to myself as she asked this question. I don’t think it is a violation of confidence to mention that Sam fell out of her bunk bed more than once! I will miss them and the fun we would have during their visits.

  47. We live near the boundary of Kootenay National Park and travel on this highway frequently. I can promise you that the memory of the Howard family will live on in the hearts of many members of our little community, many of whom have lost loved ones on these treacherous moutain roads. In 2001 our family was involved in a motor vehicle accident just a few kilometres away, and our 19-year-old son Daniel was killed. We are grieving with you in your terrible loss. We will remember them.

  48. We returned from a Yellowstone, Wyoming vacation Thursday to read in the local papers about Robert’s family accident. Saddness swept over me immediately as I remembered lovingly the Howard Family of Tennyson Avenue. One daughter, three sons, and Robert the youngest rounded out Polly and Ron’s great family. My son Frank and David Howard were great friends, and we saw the family often. Always kind, funny, and extremely smart kids were a joy for my children to grow up with. It was with a heavy heart that I reported this loss to my children, especially Frank, who is a father and Scout leader and so much like the fine parents of Robert were – nurturing, involved, and dedicated to their wonderful children’s education and lives. Ron, Kim, David and John, I send prayers for strength to each of you.

  49. My family is from Alberta and we travel this stretch of highway many weekends every month. With the memorial cross set up on the side of the road at the accident scene I will forever be reminded how precious life is and hold dear the time I spend with my family of 4 as well. My heart breaks ever time we drive by the cross and I say a little prayer….

  50. I still miss these guys every day. They left a beautiful and indelible mark on us all that is as fresh today as it was before they left us. We count every day as a gift because life is wonderful and occasionally, unpredictably tragic. When we think of them (often), we are encouraged by their spirits that embodied tenacious curiosity, buoyant optimism, and energetic creativity. At work and at home, we often swap stories about them because little things remind us of great times spent working and playing together, whether winning a new client, carpooling to work, talking about the Samurai over lunch, sharing something funny that kids said. Here’s to them.
    Cindy, thank you for keeping this site active. I’ve come back many times, and I enjoy reading the comments and remembering them.

  51. I read that the trial of the semi-truck driver is set to begin shortly. I am sure the trial will reopen the grief that has probably not healed much. I wanted the families and friends of Robert, Ana-Maria, Samantha and Veronica to know that we continue to think of you and wish you peace.

  52. Cindy…
    As it is coming up on the six year mark that this beautiful family left the world I wanted to reach out to you and tell you that I still remember and always will. I hope that these past years have given you more comfort in beautiful memories rather than pain and yet I also know the sadness of their loss is inevitable.
    I send you and your whole family love and hugs.
    My thoughts and prayers are and always will be with you all.

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