MANSFIELD, Mass. (WPRI) — Carlton Howorth III, known as “Buddy,” was one of the 100 people who died inside the Station nightclub fire.
His former wife Karen told 12 News 39-year-old Buddy was a free spirit, a lover of music and a dedicated father to his daughter Lizz.
“Elizabeth just stole his heart,” Karen said. “I constantly see him through her … his spirit and legacy continues on with her.”
Now 23, Lizz said the fire affected her upbringing as she had to learn to navigate growing older without a father.
“As I got older I think I started to realize how much it was impacting me, but I was kind of blind to it the majority of my life,” Lizz said. “I think it lay dormant until my teen years.”
Karen remembers taking Lizz to her father’s grave.
“It was one of the worst moments of my entire life,” she recalled. “We went to the grave and I said, ‘Listen, dad is here,’ and she looked at me, just incredibly sad like, ‘I get it. He’s not going to come home.’ [The face she made] was awful.”
Lizz remembers being bullied in school by children over her dad’s absence, and remembered a particular day when they learned about fire safety at school.
“They brought us over to the high school gymnasium to sit down and watch a video,” Lizz recalled. “They had the fire department come in and talk to us about safety … they showed that not to do in a fire and they showed footage from the Station fire.”
“Everyone just kind of looked at me,” she continued. “It was a weird moment of, ‘Oh, do I not understand the gravity of this situation?'”
With the help of family and counselors, both Karen and Lizz have forged ahead.
“I want other people who have ever been impacted by something like this to know that you’re going to be fine,” Lizz said. “Everything is going to be OK.”