Even in death, Brynn and Brittni Frace filled the world around them with color and smiles.
The North County community remembered the sisters — who died last week in a tragic vehicle collision — at a Friday evening service by wearing highlighter-bright T-shirts and flowers in their hair.
A standing room-only crowd at Atascadero Bible Church laughed and cried as family members and friends shared stories about Brynn and Brittni’s quirky personalities and love of life.
After the service, attendees were invited to take wildflower seeds to plant and to join the family at Atascadero Memorial Stadium to run a lap around the track or kick a soccer ball — all symbols of things the two loved.
“They unleashed joy like nobody’s business,” said Ryan Frace, the sisters’ uncle.
Brynn and Brittni, both of Paso Robles, died from injuries sustained on Jan. 16, when they were involved in a collision with a semi truck on Highway 198 near Interstate 5. The sisters were on their way back to Chico State University to prepare for a new semester.
Brittni, 20, died at the scene of the collision, and Brynn, 22, succumbed to her injuries on Jan. 18 at Community Regional Medical Center in Fresno.
Both sisters graduated from Atascadero High School and were a big part of the San Luis Obispo County running community.
Brittni — who ran for Chico State’s cross country and track and field teams — held the Atascadero school record in the mile and was named to All County and All League teams during her high school career.
Brynn, who also ran for Atascadero, was training for her first marathon at the time of her death. She had recently transferred to Chico State from Humboldt State to be with her sister.
The friends and family members who spoke at the service remembered the “inseparable” sisters’ love of running, nature and vegetables and the happiness they spread with their sheer force of personality.
Evan McLenithan, Brynn and Brittni’s friend, described a time when Brynn came to visit him at Cal Poly and pulled a potato out of her purse for dinner. He compared the sisters’ personality to the bright purple beet hummus they’d spread on the sandwiches they’d sometimes pack for lunch.
“They weren’t afraid to be one of a kind,” McLenithan said. “They’re beautiful, vibrant people.”
Shari and Warren Frace, the sisters’ parents, said they’ve drawn peace from how happy their daughters were just before they died. On the day of the collision, they said the two were excited to go back to school to see their friends and continue studying and running.
“It gives me great comfort to know they left us at the ultimate pinnacle of health and happiness,” Warren Frace said.
He added that being Brynn and Brittni’s father was the “easiest and most joyful part of my life.”
“I realized that, really, my job was just to grab the camera and follow them along on their adventures,” he said.
Shari Frace read old Mother’s Day cards from Brynn and Brittni and inscriptions from their high school yearbooks. She said her daughters chose not to dwell on the negative aspects of life, but instead focused on how they could fix things.
“Let’s not ask, ‘Why?’” she said. “Let’s ask, ‘How can we make a difference?’”
In lieu of flowers, the Fraces requested friends donate to their GoFundMe page, where they’re collecting funds to go toward an athletic scholarship and shoe donation program in the sisters’ honor. To donate, visit gofundme.com/BrynnandBrittni.