Wife discusses life, love, grief, and happiness after husband killed in Florida skydiving accident

The wife of a man killed in a skydiving accident in Titusville is sharing the story of his life and their love.

Frederick and Donna Morello met over 40 years ago.

He was working as a police office in a suburb of Cleveland and knew some of her relatives.

"They decided to have a party so they could introduce him to me. I was 19 and he was 28, and I was mesmerized," Donna said. "He just had my heart."

Fred got accepted into Georgetown Law School and asked Donna to come with him.

"And I said, ‘Well, I’ll need an engagement ring for that,’" she laughed.

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After law school, he got a job in Daytona Beach, and then opened up his own civil law practice there. 

"And we had two beautiful children. He was an amazing husband, great father, and just. Just a great guy," continued Donna Morello."Whatever he did, he just did it with so much passion."

Fred Morello’s wife says he was an avid exerciser. He loved yoga, hiking, and was diligent about maintaining his health. Young in heart and appearance, his family was bothered by the term "elderly" being applied to the healthy and youthful 69-year-old in a news article they saw.

He was also a bit of a thrill seeker – but the type that wears a helmet. He was always focused on safety, his family says.

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"That’s the way Fred did everything," said Donna. "He did everything right, or he didn’t do it at all."

His family says when he first started skydiving, they did get nervous. But after 20 years and 6000 flights, they just stopped worrying about it.

Until one day he didn’t answer his phone. Then, Donna did worry. 

She got a call from the Titusville Police Department on October 7th. Fred’s parachute deployed, but something went wrong. He’d fallen to his death in the middle of a neighborhood.

"In the beginning, we were obsessed with knowing why," his wife said. "’Why did that happen, how could it happen?’"

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The Titusville Police Department is still investigating that. The Department didn’t respond to a request for an update on October 11th.

But now, his family has chosen to give up on wondering. They’re focusing instead on staying positive.

"He passed away doing what he loved more than anything in life," Donna said, laughing and agreeing to clarify, "more than anything, after his wife and children."

Donna says it’s been a joy hearing so many people come forward and tell stories about her husband.

Neighbors, coworkers, people he’s skydived with, and other friends have all reached out to the family.

Fred’s administrative legal assistant at his law firm, Alyssa Butler, told FOX35, "His kindness was very infectious… he was the type of guy you could sit down and talk to because you know he would listen…he helped me to exceed the expectations I had of myself."

Donna says the people who’ve reached out, just like Fred’s family, are devastated.

"But day by day, you think of the positive and the good memories, and I think that we’ll hold onto those."

The Morello family is planning a celebration of life at the Skydive Space Center in Titusville at 4pm on October 21st. Before that, his son is going to skydive for the very first time, spreading his father’s ashes from the air.