Chris Aiken, 38, had recently embarked on a new chapter in his life, and it was a happy time.
He got married in November and became stepfather to twin girls Samantha and Katie, 15.
And he went back to college, as a history student, to obtain the degree he never got as a young man.
He was riding Metrolink 111 on Friday evening from his job at Aramark in Glendale to his home in Thousand Oaks.
Aiken was born and raised in the upstate New York town of Gasport.
He came to California after high school and met his first wife, Sandi. That marriage didn't last, but the two stayed friends.
He married his second wife, Sharon, on Nov. 10.
His mother, Donna Aiken, said he fell in love not only with his wife but also with being a father to her two children.
He loved spending time with his friends, hiking and being by the ocean.
He was also passionate about the Buffalo Bills.
"He just loved life," his mother said. "And those two girls just meant the world to him."
In addition to his wife, stepdaughters and mother, Aiken is survived by his adoptive father Roy; brothers Heath and Shaun Aiken; grandmothers Patte Griffiths and Agnew Aiken; and his biological father, Ted Berry.
-- Jessica Garrison