Sun, Jul 11, 2004
Gary Landgrebe dead at scene, instructor in critical
The mayor of the city of Racine (MN)
was killed on Friday after the Robsinon R22 helicopter he was
piloting as a student crashed in a field as it was to land. Gary
Landgrebe, 47, was in the aircraft along with instructor Joseph
Fishburn, 59. Landgrebe was declared dead on the scene; Fishburn
was taken to St. Mary's Hospital in critical condition.
The NTSB has begun investigating the accident, and the town now
mourns the loss of a mayor who bad been in office since the
mid-1990's and who was very popular among his constituents.
According to news reports from local TV station KAAL as well as the
Rochester Post Bulletin. Bret Walters, one of Landgrebe's many
friends, didn't take long to describe him: "Just an all around very
nice, genuinely kind fellow." It was Landgrebe who helped Walters
build his convenience store. "It basically became his goal to make
sure that Racine was a town that was gonna thrive and become a
better town for itself."
Sadly, this was not the first tragedy to strike Landgrebe's
family. In 1996 his son Grant was killed in an automobile accident
north of Racine. The road had claimed many other lives before, and
Landgrebe and his spouse worked tirelessly for the next three years
to make the road safer. They achieved their goal in 1999. The
Minnessota Department of Transportation installed rumble strips on
the center lane, to alert drivers if they drift across the middle
of the road. Since then, no more deaths have taken place on that
stretch of asphalt.
Arrangements for Landgrebe's funeral are still pending.
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