Avondale will hold memorial picnic for victims of 2014 fireTami and Jess Willadsen. Photo provided by the city of Avondale Estates
The city of Avondale Estates on Sunday will celebrate the lives of a mother and daughter who died in a house fire last year.
The Tami and Jess Willadsen Memorial Picnic will be Sunday, April 12 at noon at Lake Avondale.
“This picnic will take place all around Lake Avondale and has no set end time or agenda; residents are encouraged to come whenever they’d like and stay for as long as they’d like,” the announcement from the city says. “Bring blankets, food, lawn games (Frisbee, cornhole, croquet, etc.), family, and friends, and enjoy a casual get-together in the great outdoors in memory of Tami and daughter Jess.”
On the evening of April 12, 2014, the family’s home on Lakeshore Drive caught fire. Tami and her daughter Jess, 10, didn’t make it, but her husband Dave and son Jack survived. The Willadsens were part of The Museum School community, where Jess was a student and Tami led a fundraising campaign.
DeKalb Fire investigators weren’t able to determine how the fire started.
The tragedy, described as one of the worst in the city’s history, united the community, both within and beyond the city. A Go Fund Me campaign set up to assist Jack and Dave raised more than $100,000. The fire damaged the homes on either side of the Willadsen home on Lakeshore Drive, but the neighbors waived their claim to any of the money raised on the family’s behalf.