But those who died in the shooting Friday filled their lives up until that moment with love, ambition and achievement.
One of the five slain victims has not been publicly identified. Here is what we know so far about the other four:
Terry Andres, 62, of Virginia Beach, Virginia, and his wife of nearly 40 years flew into Fort Lauderdale on the way to a Caribbean cruise, the first leg of a vacation that would include both of their birthdays, a daughter, Ryan Kim, told CNN.
Ann Andres turned 62 on Monday; she was uninjured in the shooting. Terry Andres' birthday would have been January 20.
"My parents could look at each other and you could tell they loved and adored each other," Kim, 37, of Virginia Beach said. "Year 1, year 39, it was the same."
The couple married on September 10, 1977, after an electric Christmas Eve date eight months earlier.
Kim said her mother came home after that date and called a friend to say: "I just went out with the guy that I'm going to marry."
And after many years of marriage, Andres would still declare: "Your mom is so beautiful," when she walked into a room.
A New Jersey native, he was just as adoring and emotive with his family and his three grandchildren. He took his two granddaughters on bike rides along the oceanfront and played games of UNO with them for hours.
Kim said one of her daughters recently asked: "Who's going to play UNO with us now?"
"His family literally was everything to him," Kim said.
Andres' youngest daughter, Whitney Rodgers, 34, also lives in Virginia Beach.
His granddaughters called him Poppy. Kim's friends called him Dad. "Our friends are devastated because this is like losing a father," Kim said.
Andres worked at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard for more than 20 years.
He had a "a jovial face," and easily made friends on his many work trips, Kim said. After their Caribbean cruise, the couple planned to head to Mexico for a 10-day vacation.
Kim said her mother told her she is "100% at peace because they had a fantastic relationship. ...They had the utmost respect for one another."
Kim added: "I'm blessed to even have known him. This world was bigger with him in it and it's smaller now that he's gone."
Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa identified one victim as 57-year-old Michael Oehme of Council Bluffs and said his wife, Kari Oehme, was wounded in the shooting.
"Pray as I will for Oehme family of CouncilBluffs Iowa /Father Michael was killed and Kari the mother was wounded at FtLauderdale Massacre," Grassley said on Twitter.
The couple were at the airport preparing for a Caribbean cruise that was slated to begin Saturday, according to CNN affiliate WOWT. Kari Oehme, 52, suffered a shoulder wound and is expected to recover, her sister-in-law told WOWT.
Adam Angeroth, who has known the couple for eight years and is Kari Oehme's hairdresser, told the station the couple went on cruises every year and that he had just done her hair and nails in preparation for the trip.
Kari Oehme works for CommScope, a telecommunications company, across the Missouri River in Omaha, Nebraska. The company released a statement saying it was doing everything it can to help the Oehme family.
"Our deepest sympathy goes out to everyone affected by this tragic event," the statement said.
Shirley Timmons, 70, was a family woman whom her grandson described as "an amazing daughter, wife, mother and grandmother."
Her husband of 51 years was her high school sweetheart. They met in eighth grade, said Steve Reineccius, Timmons' grandson.
"Together they built a close, loving family with their three daughters, three son-in-laws and eight grandchildren. For Shirley, family meant vacations, football games and holiday traditions," he said in a statement.
"She was the most loving, passionate mother who had a love for life and truly sparkled. She will continue to sparkle through her husband, mother, three daughters, and eight grandchildren. She touched many and was loved by all. She will live in our hearts forever and will be truly missed."
Olga Woltering and her husband, Ralph, had traveled from their home in Cobb County, Georgia, outside Atlanta, to Fort Lauderdale for a cruise.
The 84-year-old great-grandmother and loyal church member died and her husband escaped serious injury, according to posts on social media.
"Olga was one of the most joyful, loving, caring and committed people I have ever met," the Rev. Fernando Molina-Restrepo of the Catholic Church of the Transfiguration in Marietta, Georgia, told CNN. The Wolterings had been members of the church since 1978, Molina-Restrepo said.
"This is a horrible tragedy for everyone here at Transfiguration, especially because Olga was so loved," he said.
A posting on the church's website said the couple "could always be found at 5 p.m. Mass," and it added, "Olga was so charming, calling everybody 'Lovey' or 'Love' in her unmistakable British accent."