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Family members remember, honor 2 USU plane crash victims


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Estimated read time: 4-5 minutes

MENDON, Cache County — It's interesting how the little things are what families always remember.

Tom Carpenter will never forget his son's grin that started at about 2 years old.

"We were living in Florida and there was a screened porch that to get to, you had to go through two glass doors. Michael went in there and he looked at us and gave us that grin and locked the door," Tom Carpenter said with a laugh. "So, I went to the other glass door, and he bolted to it and locked it before I could get here and giggled."

That was one of the first memories he has of his son's grin, which laughed a lifetime. His son's grin laughed.

"Michael was the jokester, just 100%," Tom said with another laugh.

All those laughs are now helping the family get through all the tears.

Michael Carpenter was one of two people killed in a small plane crash in Cache County this past Friday.

But instead of focusing on how his life ended, they're thankful for how he lived.

"Canoeing, kayaking, hiking, four-wheeling, snowshoeing, skiing," said Tom Carpenter, along with his brother and sisters and mother, naming things Michael liked to do.

"If there was adrenaline involved, he was there," his father said.

There was also that mustache he was so proud of, and the two-thumbs-up pictures, no matter what the situation.

"He was incredible, amazing, loving, helped anybody," Michael's mother, Sandy Carpenter, said.

Tom Carpenter will especially cherish their time together with the U.S. Air Force, serving in the same unit overseas.

That father/son connection was highlighted in a video the Air Force put together.

"It was amazing," Tom said. "I actually had commented to him once or twice that I feel like I cheated them because I got to spend that time as an adult with him in that situation."

Carpenter, who had graduated from Utah State University's Aviation Technology program, was working on an FAA certification when the crash happened.

The other man in that plane, Blake Shumway, was his certified flight instructor, who had just started working with Utah State University last September.

Like Carpenter, Shumway comes from a close-knit family.

"We're doing OK. It's hard. We kind of go in waves," Blake's mother, Lisa Shumway, said. "We'll be doing OK, and then we'll see a picture and start to get sad all over again."

Lisa said her son loved flying and was working to fly for a commercial airline one day.

"He really fell in love with flying when he got back from his mission in Washington," she said.

Her son also loved his mustache, which, she laughs, is a pilot thing.

Blake Shumway also adored his wife, Susannah Woodbury.

His mother said she was the first woman who really got his attention. And vice-versa.

"She saw him, it was on a dating app. And she saw him, he was rappelling, hanging upside down off of an arch. And she said to her mom, 'I did that, too. I've got to talk to this boy,'" Lisa said.

Their one-year wedding anniversary was just a week ago, after countless adventures hiking, rock-climbing and being outdoors.

"They probably did more together in the one year that they had than most couples do in 10," Lisa said.

Woodbury sent this statement about her husband, saying, "If I could go back in time, I would go back and marry Blake over and over again, despite the hole that will forever be in my heart. No words can describe the pain I feel, but I will forever cherish the time I got to spend with my happy curly red hair, freckled face boy."

Now, two families are connected in a way neither would ever choose. But both of them are looking back at the fun memories they're grateful they have.

"He was just a good guy," Lisa said.

"We'll miss him and we'll get through it," Tom said. "We have great memories."

Shumway's funeral is set for Thursday at 11 a.m. at Solitude Ski Resort.

It's a place he loved.

Shumway's visitation will be Wednesday at Lindquist Mortuary in Syracuse from 5 p.m.-8 p.m.

Carpenter's funeral will be Saturday at 11 a.m. at the Canyon Ridge Stake Center at 1911 E. 1850 South in Spanish Fork.

There are also GoFundMe accounts set up for the families of Blake Shumway and Michael Carpenter.

*KSL.com does not assure that the money deposited to the account will be applied for the benefit of the persons named as beneficiaries. If you are considering a deposit to the account, you should consult your own advisers and otherwise proceed at your own risk.

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Alex Cabrero

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