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Family: Utah pilot will be 'deeply missed and lovingly remembered'

By Sandra Yi | Posted - Jan 14th, 2013 @ 7:04pm

RIVERTON — A Utah pilot killed in a plane crash in Texas will be laid to rest Friday.

Robert Thompson, 49, of Saratoga Springs, was killed about 8 a.m. Saturday when the Piper PA-46 he was flying crashed shortly after takeoff from a nearby airport.

Mike Endo, 51, and Michael Dale Bradley, 44, both of Salt Lake City, also died in the crash.

The Thompson family released a statement Monday saying he will be so deeply missed and lovingly remembered.

Thompson was a husband, father and grandfather. He was very devoted to his 13 children, the family said.

"He knew his children very well and was very involved with each child. We always knew that he loved us," according to the family statement. He was also the grandfather to five boys.

The family said Thompson was a true romantic. “He loved our mother," they said. "He often wrote her love letters.”

He had an unassuming character. "His personality was calm, quiet and observant," they said.

Thompson had 20 years of experience as a pilot, and flying never felt like a job for him, his family said.

The three men were on a business trip in a plane owned by Celtic Bank, headed to Austin. The Texas Public Safety Department said it was reportedly foggy and the plane attempted to turn back toward the airport before descending rapidly and crashing.

It could take a year to 18 months to determine the cause of the crash, according to the National Transportation Safety Board.

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