Playground will honor 3 from Gaithersburg family killed when plane crashed into house

The City of Gaithersburg in Maryland is partnering with a national nonprofit to build a playground in memory of three members of the Gemmell family who were killed when a small plane crashed into their house.

The playground will be at Griffith Park, next to city hall on South Summit Avenue in Gaithersburg, and will “reflect the life and personality” of Marie Gemmell, 36; Cole Gemmell, 3 years old; and Devin Gemmell, who was a month and a half old, when a small, private jet crashed into their house on Drop Forge Lane on Dec. 8, 2014.

The three people on the plane also died in the crash.

The city is teaming with the nonprofit Where Angels Play, which builds memorial playgrounds nationwide. The city said in a statement that the Gaithersburg playground will be the foundation’s 53rd.

The playground will be designed by Ken Gemmell, Marie Gemmell’s husband and the father of Cole and Devin, and daughter Arabelle Gemmell. He was at work at the time of the crash; she was at school.

Click to expand: A rendering of the memorial playground for three members of the Gemmell family that will be built in Gaithersburg, Maryland. (Courtesy City of Gaithersburg)

The foundation is looking for donations online to offset the cost of the playground, and the public can also volunteer to help out — the playground will be built Sept. 12 through Sept. 14 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day, and a fundraising dinner will also be held Sept. 14 from 6 to 9 p.m. at Quincy’s Bar & Grille, at 616 Quince Orchard Road in Gaithersburg.

“This is a chance to honor the memories of Marie, Cole and Devin by building a place in their names where kids will laugh, play and have fun,” Mayor Jud Ashman said in the statement. “The city council and I look forward to joining Ken and Arabelle, along with the Where Angels Play Foundation, in this wonderful endeavor.”

Rick Massimo

Rick Massimo came to WTOP, and to Washington, in 2013 after having lived in Providence, R.I., since he was a child. He's the author of "A Walking Tour of the Georgetown Set" and "I Got a Song: A History of the Newport Folk Festival."

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