Four of the Waukesha, Wisconsin, parade victims were members of the Dancing Grannies, which is a beloved dance troupe. It’s a mainstay at Wisconsin parades. The fifth victim was an employee at a local bank. Prosecutors revealed a 6th victim has now died, a small boy.
Police named the victims as Virginia Sorenson, 79; LeAnna Owens, 71; Tamara Durand, 52; Jane Kulich, 52; and Wilhelm Hospel, 82.
A 6th victim has now died. He is Jackson Sparks, 8. Jackson’s family announced his death on their GoFundMe page. His brother, Tucker, was also seriously injured. More than 60 people were injured, prosecutors said in court, where the suspect was held on $5 million bail.
“This afternoon, our dear Jackson has sadly succumbed to his injuries and passed away,” the family’s GoFundMe page says. “Tucker, by the grace of God is miraculously recovering from his injuries and will be being discharged home.” Tucker was also in the intensive care unit and was “seriously injured,” the page says.
They were killed when a man driving a red SUV plowed throughout the Waukesha, Wisconsin, Christmas parade.
There are multiple GoFundMe pages to help other people, including children and teenagers, who survived the attack but are recovering in local hospitals or fighting for their lives. You can see them throughout this article.
“The Milwaukee Dancing Grannies are (devastated) by this terrible (tragedy) with of loss of life and injuries in the Waukesha Christmas parade,” the Dancing Grannies wrote in a Facebook post.
“Our group was doing what they loved, performing in front of crowds in a parade putting smiles on faces of all ages, filling them with joy and happiness. While performing the grannies enjoyed hearing the crowds cheers and applause which certainly brought smiles to their faces and warmed their hearts. Those who died were extremely passionate Grannies. Their eyes gleamed…..joy of being a Grannie. They were the glue….held us together. Our hearts are heavy at this most difficult time, as more information and updates become available it will be posted. Please keep them their families, friends, the Milwaukee Dancing Grannies and everyone who lives have forever changed in your thoughts and prayers.”
The group calls itself a “group of grannies that meet once a week to practice routines for summer and winter parades.”
Here are bios, names, and photos in tribute to each of the Waukesha victims who died:
“Aaron Sparks and Sheri Sparks would like to thank everyone for your prayers and amazing support during this difficult time,” the family’s post announcing Jackson’s death said.
“Please know that they appreciate your continued prayers and tremendous outpouring of support for their family. They do however ask for privacy at this time to allow Tucker to continue to heal physically and their family to heal and mourn the tremendous loss of their sweet little boy who is now under the care of Jesus.”
The page previously revealed both boys were injured and said Jackson needed a miracle.
The GoFundMe page for them read, before Jackson died:
My name is Alyssa and I am the niece of Aaron and Sheri Sparks, who have been impacted by the horrific events at the Waukesha Christmas Parade in Waukesha, Wisconsin on Sunday, November 21, 2021.
While attending the Waukesha Christmas parade, an SUV tragically entered the parade route and struck 40 victims. Two of those victims were children, Tucker (age 12) and Jackson (age 8) Sparks. The entire family is devastated and their parents, Aaron and Sheri, are at the bedsides of their children who are both at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin. Tucker, is recovering, but sustained road rash and a fractured skull. They are closely monitoring his head and spine. He is stable at this time. Jackson, age 8, underwent brain surgery on Sunday evening. Doctors will be testing for brain function and brainstem activity today (Monday, November 22nd). He needs a miracle.
The family is facing mounting medical expenses with two children receiving medical treatment, and time away from work. Any donation, large or small, is so appreciated and will make a big difference to the Sparks family. Aaron and Sheri are people of faith, so please continue to lift them and their boys in prayer. Even if you’re not able to give, please share their story.
Sorenson was a Dancing Grannie.
“What did she like about it? Everything,” David Sorenson, her husband of 56 years, told The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “She liked the instructing. She liked the dancing and the camaraderie of the women. She liked to perform.”
She was in the dancing troupe for 19 years and was a registered nurse who worked part-time in medical records, The Journal Sentinel reported.
Leanna Owen was a dancing granny. The Cudahy, Wisconsin, woman managed an apartment complex, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Dave Schmidt, who owns the building, said to the newspaper,“She didn’t have a mean bone in her body. She was the nicest lady,” Schmidt said.
“She was the glue that kept that apartment complex running for us,” Schmidt said to the Journal Sentinel. “She will be sorely missed.”
A man wrote on Facebook, “Tamara Durand was a member of my church, a substitute teacher in my school, and a big figure in our community when I was growing up. She was killed in the Waukesha parade incident while participating with the Dancing Grannies group – which tells you a lot about her amazing personality. She and the victims are sorely missed – and their families and many other victims are hurting terribly.”
A GoFundMe page to help Kulich’s family says:
Our community of Waukesha has suffered a tragedy on November 21st, 2021. In the midst of that tragedy, many injured and the lives of innocent people taken. One of those lives is that of Jane. A loving, beautiful and charismatic mother, grandmother and friend to so many. The world is a much darker place without a woman like this in the world. This GoFundMe is for Jane’s family. To help cover costs along with honoring and saying our final goodbyes to someone so incredibly special to so many.
Sonya Leonard wrote in a tribute, “I am heartbroken to share my Uncle Bill was one of the victims of the Parade Massacre in Waukesha, WI. My Aunt Lola was one of the Dancing Grannies. She was injured as well, but will be physically ok. Uncle Bill was the youngest of 4 brothers, all of whom live in the Milwaukee area, though the two oldest escape to FL in the winters. They all would get together a few times a year to catch up and reminscence. The photos below are of Uncle Bill and Aunt Lola on a trip to the family homeland in Germany a few years ago, a photo from Uncle Ted’s First Communion many years ago in Germany (Uncle Bill is the young boy seated on Grandpa Hospel’s lap), and a recent gathering of the 4 brothers with Bill on the far right, my Mom to the left and Aunt Lola to her left. Please send your prayers for my Aunt Lola, my cousins Lori & Brian Hospel, and my Dad and his brothers Hans and Ted.”
The GoFundme for Kohnke says:
By now, we. have all seen the brutal images of a car mowing down innocent people and kids at the Waukesha Holiday Parade. It was horrific and shocking too see bodies flying in the air as this person without any care for life or limb ran over many people at a high speed.
Through the chaos yesterday, I finally got a text from Amber, the mom, her daughter Jessalyn, pictured moment before the attack, was one of the girls that was directly hit!
She is the dance group Waukesha Xtreme Dance and they were in the parade.
Right now as Monday morning , Jessalyn is fighting for her life, she in is ICU on high oxygen, lost a kidney, broken pelvic, liver lacerations, lung damage, tachycardia and many blood transfusions. Prayers , hope and faith are being called upon right this minute!
Undoubtedly, this will cost a lot of money in medical bills lost wages, Amber is a single mom with 5 loving kinds. I know the family and these are wonderful, awesome kids!
Any help would be greatly appreciated. 100% of your donation will do directly to the family, minus the GoFundMe fees. This holiday season will be a brutal one for them.
My name is Oscar Luna, I am a friend of the family, I have know them for 6 years when I lived in downtown Waukesha. I used to stop over with their uncle Tyler and grill delicious tacos for the family. These are wonderful kids and a great family!
There is a GoFundMe page to help the Perales family.
It reads, “Hi my name is Lucero and I am organizing this GoFundMe for my family. As of right now we are pretty familiar with the tragedy that happened last night. My family was part of the parade with the Waukesha catholic group. They got hit directly by the car, and are currently in the hospital. My uncle broke his leg and had to go into a 6 hour urgent surgery and is in intensive therapy. One of my cousins received skull fractures and is currently in a coma , and my older cousins is pretty bruised all over her body. ANY help will be very much appreciated. This is a very hard time for all of us, it was something so unexpected. All of your donations (except for the GoFundMe fees that are applied) will go directly to them to help pay hospital bills.”
Laughrin Family GoFundMe Page for Aidan
It reads, “Aidan is a senior at Waukesha South HS. He was hit by the SUV on November 21 while marching with the band in the Waukesha Christmas parade. Aidan was rushed to the hospital to be treated. He suffered fractured ribs, severe bruising and stitches. This is not the way a family should enter their holiday season. They are tough but the road ahead is going to be tough too both physically and emotionally. Experiencing something this traumatic takes a lot of time and patience. It isn’t something you can prepare yourself or your family for.
This is a family who always helps others. Aidan’s mom, Sylvia is a CrossFit and barbell coach at Bark River CrossFit. She is such an important part of the gym’s community, helping better the lives of so many. She was in attendance at the parade and despite having her own son directly hit, stopped to aid others in the total chaos. There is still good in this world and this family is proof. Let’s help ease the burden for the Laughrin family and lift them up as they navigate through this.”
The GoFundMe page for her reads,
“Tamara is a mother of four kids and a grandmother of one. She is the leader of the Milwaukee dancing grannies. She was doing what she loved, performing in front of crowds in a parade putting smiles on faces of all ages, filling them with joy and happiness. She has always enjoyed dancing and the happiness it has brought to the community. Tamara is a strong, caring, and loving mother. As many of you know, yesterday the dancing grannies were hit by the SUV. Tamara was one of them. She is very lucky to be here today. Due to this accident she will be put out of work at at least 6 months due to multiple injuries. On top of that hospital bills as well . I am asking that anyone who can help, help. She has a long recovery ahead of her before she can get back on her feet. Any donation is very appreciated by Tamara and her family. ”
There is a GoFundMe page for a survivor named Tyler.
It reads: “Tyler is such a great and wonderful young man. He has so many talents and has the biggest heart. He, like many others, was involved in the horrific incident on Sunday afternoon, at the Waukesha Holiday Christmas parade. Tyler plays the saxophone with the Waukesha South Band. Tyler was in ICU and has underwent 2 surgeries already. He has a long road to recovery. Many of us want to help but some of us don’t know how. Donations for Tyler and his family is one way we can pull together for them. All monies will go towards whatever is needed for him medically in the months to come. We will continue to pray for all those involved.”[/caption]
The Waukesha South High School Band Members
A GoFundMe page for the injured Waukesha South band members has raised more than $144,000.
“Hi, my name is Kali Granzow and I’m the band director at Waukesha West High School, 1 of 3 high school bands that participated in the 58th annual Holiday Parade in Waukesha, when an SUV decided to speed down the parade route injuring many, including students of the Waukesha South Band. This traumatic event has brought our community together with heavy hearts. We are looking to help the South band with medical costs, new instruments, and uniforms, as well as any additional expenses that they may encounter due to this horrific event. Please donate what you can. We are one band family. We love and support each other. Thank you for your help. ❤️” the page says.
Waukesha Xtreme Dance team dancers
There is also a GoFundMe page to help the Waukesha Xtreme Dance team dancers.
It reads, “I’m raising money to benefit Waukesha Xtreme Dance Team Ltd, and any donation will help make an impact. We have many dancers injured in the Waukesha Holiday parade from our mini team to our Elite team, by a senseless driver on Nov 21, 2021. These donations will help the families towards their medical bills, new costumes and any other items that were lost. These girls spend hours upon hours together practicing, they are more like sisters then teammates. Their families are our families. We are all devastated by the tragedy and anything helps. No child should ever have to witness or go thru what happened on that day.”