Friends, family remember victims of plane crash
Thu, 18 Jul 2013 23:07:38 GMT —
A renowned pilot in the area and a 20-year-old former Lake Fenton football standout were on board the small plane that crashed in Mount Morris Township Wednesday.
According to people who knew 81-year-old Jerry Zerbe and 20-year-old Bryce Frownfelter they've touched many lives.
For Bryce, it was on the Lake Fenton High School football field and for Jerry, friends say he died doing what he loved most.
People describe the 81-year-old veteran as an experienced pilot training many to fly over the years.
"Jerry's known so, get 'er done. Mr. do it, Mr. do-right. I don't think he did a thing wrong in his life," said brother, Earl Zerbe.
Wednesday, 81-year-old Zerbe, with 64 years of flying experience under his belt, took off in a small-engine Taylor craft.
Next to him, student pilot, 20-year-old Bryce Frownfelter.
"He always had that laid back, it doesn't really matter. Because life is short," said Bryce's friend, Max Watters.
Wednesday's training flight would never make it back.
The two-seat plane went down a half mile east of Dalton Airport in Mt. Morris Township.
Earl Zerbe said he had planned to meet his brother for lunch at a nearby Wendy's, a tradition.
When Jerry never showed, they took a plane up and eventually located where the plane crashed.
"Going to drive up there and that's when we met the boy's father coming the other way and we put him in the car. He was crying so we knew it was serious. He said they're dead. Both of them? Yes," recalled Zerbe.
Friends of the seasoned pilot are devastated.
"Jerry was a fixture at the airport. Bryce was a newcomer flying. His father's been here for years so it's a real sad day," said airport member, Gregg Palinsky.
For friends of Bryce Frownfelter, it's hard to believe.
"It's been the worst possible news we could have gotten. We woke up this morning hoping it wasn't true...but....," said Robby Kesler, Bryce's friend.
For the group that call themselves 'The Boyz,' this tragedy brought them back to the Lake Fenton football field where Bryce Frownfelter shined, running more than 1,000 yards for the Blue Devils his senior year.
"It's nastalgic kind of. Feels good to be out here but feels like we're missing someone," said friend, Tyler Hammond.
Head varsity football coach, Eric Doyle said Bryce was a great player and an even better person.
"He just led by example by his actions and work ethic and ya know, Bryce was--he was just a wonderful human being," said Doyle.
His friends say Bryce was pursuing an aviation degree at Western Michigan University.
Jerry, we are told, grew up next to the airport where he fell in love with planes and was in the process of building a brand new one.