Jim Kruk has been identified as the fourth person killed in a small plane crash outside Kelowna Thursday night that also took the life of former Alberta premier Jim Prentice.
Kruk, 62, was a member of the RCMP and, after retiring, pursued his passion: aviation.
“Jim is dearly missed by his family and his lifelong friends in the Air Cadets, RCMP and aviation communities,” the family said in a statement Saturday.
“Jim was an avid aviator since 1976. After a full career and retirement from the RCMP, Jim pursued his true passion, aviation, which is only usurped by his dedication and love for his two sons Grayden (19) and Ryland (17), and devotion to his loving wife, Darlene.
“We also thank friends and family for their ongoing support and prayers during this difficult period.”
The Williams-Kruk family, who reside in Airdrie, Alta., also extended their condolences to the other families affected by the crash.
On Thursday night, a Cessna Citation jet left Kelowna International Airport with four people on board. It disappeared off radar at 8,600 feet at 10:07 p.m. The wreckage was found a few hours later northeast of Lake Country, north of Kelowna. There were no survivors.
Former Alberta premier Jim Prentice was killed along with Calgary optometrist Dr. Ken Gellatly. Gellatly is the father-in-law of Cassia Prentice, Jim’s daughter. Retired businessman Sheldon Reid was another victim in the plane crash.
“It is with great sadness that I share the passing of Mr. Jim Kruk in the Cessna Citation crash outside of Kelowna that also killed former Alberta Premier Jim Prentice, Calgary Optometrist Dr. Ken Gellatly and businessman Sheldon Reid,” Capt. N. van Aalst wrote on the 83 Juno Beach Royal Canadian Air Cadets Facebook page.
“Jim Kruk was heavily involved with 88 ‘Lynx’ Squadron in Airdrie and acted as their SSC advisor among many other engagements with the cadets,” van Aalst wrote.
“Jim leaves behind a family with a great connection to the cadet program, and the Canadian Armed Forces and we are saddened along with our entire community.
“Our thoughts are with all who lost their lives, and their families.”
Friends were also sharing their shock and grief in messages online.
“Lost a good friend in Jim Kruk doing what he loved to do flying,” Gord Buck wrote. “Jim put in his time with the RCMP serving the public. He went on to fulfil his dream as a corporate pilot. I am proud to have known him and called him my friend. Our deepest condolences to Darlene and the boys and all those who knew Jim. He will be missed.”
“Jim was a wonderful man, father and police officer, and friend,” Curtis Ping added. “It was an honour to have known him.”