CONCORD, Calif. - The family of a Concord father who drowned in Lake Tahoe is mourning his loss and trying to come to grips with the fact that he’s gone.
Bill Siu drowned Saturday after falling off a Jet Ski in the family’s first trip to Tahoe. He was 37 years old.
"He’s my first love, my great love and my big love," his wife Alexie Rae Francisco-Siu said. "The biggest thing with Bill is he always wanted to be a dad. We always wanted a big family."
The father of four grew up in Concord, was a youth football coach, avid athlete and mentor.
Alexie told KTVU Wednesday she was riding on a Jet Ski with her husband when large waves caused the watercraft to flip and knock them into the choppy water.
"The water took us under, and we were just trying to get to each other," she said. "I was just telling him be calm, stay calm, keep your head above the water."
But she said Bill panicked and minutes later, good Samaritans in a passing boat came to their aid.
Bill was unresponsive by the time first responders got to him. They performed CPR on Bill as he was taken to a local hospital where he died. His death is being considered an accidental drowning.
"It’s very hard," his brother, Albert Siu said. "He was everything to me – a role model and leader."
His family is still stunned but they describe Siu as a dedicated father, teacher, friend, confidant, and selfless soul.
"His biggest thing is he puts people ahead of him," Alexie said. "Everyone’s happiness is his happiness."
Bill grew up around sports and had a love for baseball and football. He was a dedicated Raiders football fan and most recently coached his son Kanoah’s youth team, the Clayton Valley Junior Eagles alongside his brother, Albert.
Under their leadership, both of their sons – born two days apart – were league champions last year.
"For us, we never won the championship when we were young and for the kids to do that, it was something amazing," Albert said
Going out on top, Bill’s family said his true motivation was helping and serving others. He would train people at a local gym where she shared his love for fitness and health.
"His biggest passion was coaching," Alexie said. "He loved transforming people’s lives and being a part of their journey and encouraging them."
His journey was not easy, especially after losing his infant daughter, Melana to SIDS in 2016.
But his strength, his family said, is what has helped them to carry on in previous tough times.
"He was the best dad because he taught me everything," 9-year-old Kanoah said. "He always did everything for us, even though it was hard and tough."
A vigil is planned for Thursday night at 8:30 p.m. at Clayton Valley High School. A GoFundMe fundraiser has been set up by the family to help raise money for funeral expenses and has raised more than $66,000.
"I miss my best friend," Alexie said. "He was my every day. He was my constant. I’m just going to miss feeling him around me and the love that we shared."