MARIETTA, Ohio (WCMH) — Communities from central Ohio to Parkersburg, West Virginia are mourning the two lives lost in Tuesday’s plane crash in Marietta.
Timothy Gifford, 49, of Orient, OH was a retired Columbus firefighter. Eric Seevers, 45, of Parkersburg, WV was a musician. The people who knew them say they both had a love for flying and will each be a huge loss to their communities.
“When I woke up yesterday morning and I saw the crash, I ran through my head of people who fly out of that airport,” Ric DeRubeis, a friend of Seevers, said.
“And then I just kept trying to call Eric and it just went straight to voicemail.”
Gifford began his career with CFD in 2006. He retired in May of this year, but not before earning many achievements in the department. Those achievements were highlighted in a Facebook post by CFD, including mentoring new recruits, being a member of the heavy rescue squad and acts of heroism saving people’s lives.
Gifford’s family released the following statement Wednesday afternoon:
As has been reported, our beloved Tim died in a plane crash yesterday. Although his family and friends are utterly shattered, we are so very grateful for the outpouring of support from the communities of Columbus and Marietta.
We would like to thank the first responders, Ohio State Highway Patrol, and those who have reached out to express their love and care during this difficult time. Our hearts go out to the family of Eric Seevers, as we pray for their comfort and peace.
Tim is survived by his parents, sister, wife, three sons, two daughters-in-law, two grandsons, and many other family and friends.
We ask that the media respect the need to privately grieve at this devastating time.The Gifford family
Friends of Seevers say he was a talented musician but could do anything he set his mind to. “Eric could speak other languages. I mean he was just really bright and determined. You could have all the smarts in the world but if you aren’t determined it’s really not going to do much for you,” DeRubeis said.
DeRubeis was Seevers friend for almost two decades. He described him as “just that guy.” He said Seevers was an uplifting person and could make anyone smile. DeRubeis said the impact he made on the music community, his loved ones and even the people who never met him is special.
“Eric was always smiling, he was always down to play music, he was always down to fly. It hurts but he loved it,” DeRubeis said. “check in with your people, tell them you love them and just be happy and do what you want with your life because that’s what he did.”
Seevers’ friend said they are planning to hold an event to honor Seevers’ life in the next few weeks. Members of the Columbus Division of Fire say this has been a hard loss – and they ask we all keep Gifford’s family in our prayers.
This crash is under investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board.