Cedric Galia Asiavugwa, 32, left Washington, USA, where he had been studying law at Georgetown University to attend a funeral at his wife's home in Nkubu, Meru County.
He was to arrive in Nairobi shortly before 11am Sunday and his family was eagerly waiting for him.
But his journey home ended tragically when the Ethiopian Airlines flight ET302 he was travelling crashed shortly after take-off from Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa.
The plane crash cut short his life.
His maternal home is Luzu village in Chamakanga, Vihiga County, but the family long relocated to Mawe Tatu in Kiungani, Kitale where they bought land and settled.
Ms Beatrice Achitsa, his sister, described the death as tragic and a big loss to the family that was waiting for his arrival through Ethiopia on Sunday.
She said the family is still fighting to come to terms with the loss.
His father, Mr Govedi Asiavugwa, travelled to Nairobi following the fatal crash that killed 157 people.
"He was on his way from USA where he is undertaking further studies in law. He was coming to help in the preparations of a funeral at his wife's place," said Ms Achitsa.
She went on: "He had informed us he will be arriving in Nairobi at 10.30am on Sunday but we failed to hear from him and later we learnt of the air crash in Ethiopia."
"Our father is at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport trying to get more details. He travelled yesterday (Sunday) immediately we learnt about the accident. We are disturbed as a family. His death is a big blow to our family," she added.
Cedric grew up in Luzu village and attended St Ursula Chamakanga Catholic Church and aspired to be a priest during his early years.
He served as an altar boy and proceeded to St Peter's Minor Seminary in Mukumu from 2001 to 2004 for his secondary school education.
After his high school education, he joined the Jesuit Fathers to pursue priesthood, enabling him travel to Zimbabwe where he acquired a degree in philosophy. He also travelled to Uganda and Tanzania for studies.
He later decided to study law.
"He got a sponsor who offered to pay for his tuition to pursue further studies in law. We are crying over the loss," said Ms Achitsa.
The Washington Post reported how his university mourned the loss.
"With his passing, the Georgetown family has lost a stellar student, a great friend to many, and a dedicated champion for social justice across East Africa and the world,” the Post quoted a joint letter from Mr William Treanor, the executive vice president and dean at Georgetown Law, and the Rev Mark Bosco, the vice president for mission and ministry at Georgetown University
He was in his third year of study at the university.
His friends also mourned the tragic death.
Pascal Isimwamu wrote on Facebook: "It's hard to believe. And nothing seems enough to express this moment. Perhaps some solace could be found in the hope that our joys will be greater, our love deeper, our life fuller because we shared your moment. Gone too soon."
Fr Benard Mwanzo, a Catholic priest wrote: "Life is too short. It’s very sad in deed. We have known each other for long. Shared a lot. Very hard to accept the bitter reality that you are no more. My condolence to the family. May you rest in peace brother until we meet again."
Cedric was the sixth born child in a family of nine children, three girls and six boys.
He is survived by his wife and a child.