An aviation instructor from Mount Royal University who was killed in a plane crash west of Calgary earlier this month has been laid to rest.
Pilots Jeff Bird and Reynold “Reyn” Johnson were killed when the plane they were travelling in went down northwest of Cochrane on Feb. 13.
A funeral service for Johnson was held on Friday, Feb.24 at St. Michael’s Catholic Community in southwest Calgary.
Taylor Jackson, an MRU aviation student, told Global News he thought of Johnson as the grandfather he never had, who would gave so much to his students.
“Reyn would go out of his way to say ‘I’m really happy to see you today’ and he wouldn’t do it just once; he would do it every time he saw you.”
Luc Sinal, another aviation student, shared similar sentiments, saying there was nobody he didn’t have time for.
“From the minute I met him, he was immediately a friend. He was such a kind person, so warm. He’s that grandfather figure, a mentor.”
MRU president David Docherty said Johnson taught his students not just how to be better pilots, but also better people.
“The twinkle in the eye we saw in the pictures. He left that spark, that twinkle, that drive in our students and inspired them.”
Johnson, who grew up in Lethbridge, was a commercial pilot with Canadian Regional Airlines and Jazz Airlines before retiring and joining the MRU aviation program in September 2016.
He is survived by his wife Brenda, a son, daughter and three grandchildren, one of them born just two days before the crash.
Lanice Jones is a long time family friend who describes Johnson as a loving father.
“He was loving and yet would also hold children to a standard of politeness and respect: raising them to be good citizens.”
The funeral for Bird was held at Mount Royal University on Feb. 19.
The Transportation Safety Board (TSB) is expected to provide an update on its investigation into the crash at a 10 a.m. MT news conference in Edmonton on Monday, Feb. 27.