Nahoko and Tetsuya Kono had moved to Lexington from Japan only 18 months ago, but they had spent all their extra time traveling around the United States. Sunday, when they were on Flight 5191, they were headed for weeklong vacation to Yosemite National Park in California.
Tetsuya, or Tetsu, as he was called, had come to Lexington to work as a design engineer for LBX Co. from its parent company Sumitomo, which manufactures earth-moving equipment. His wife, Nahoko, 31, came with Tetsu, 34, from Tokyo.
"They were so well-liked, and Tetsu fit in so well at this company," said LBX spokesman Jack Tipton. "He had a very contagious smile."
"He was very much liked by his fellow employees, and his work as an engineer was without reproach," Lew Miller, director of engineering for LBX, said in a company statement.
A design engineer, Tetsu Kono had never played softball before, but he signed up to play on the company team and was looking forward to playing, said Kevin Wycoff, senior design engineer for LBX.
"I was looking forward to watching him play," Wycoff said.
He said Tetsu and his wife "took every chance they could to see and experience what this country is all about."
The Konos' parents were thought to be en route from Japan, but Tipton said he did not know what the funeral arrangements would be.