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Hundreds Pay Last Respects To Young Pilot In Cheyenne

April 14, 1996

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) _ Hundreds of mourners shaken by the death of Jessica Dubroff, whose attempt to become the youngest pilot to fly across the United States and back ended here, remembered her Sunday as a dreamer whose love for flying allowed her to live a full life in her 7 years.

``My heart goes out to this whole community, which has taken the chance to show the world we care,″ said a tearful Mayor Leo Pando. ``I know we all send our thoughts, prayers and condolences to all who knew Jessica, Lloyd and Joe.″

Jessica, her father Lloyd Dubroff and flight instructor Joe Reid were killed Thursday when their single-engine airplane crashed a few minutes after takeoff.

The memorial held at the Cheyenne Civic Center was arranged by officials for the benefit of city residents shaken by Dubroff’s death. Scattered about were decorations including an airplane-shaped bouquet and photographs taken of the girl during her short time in Cheyenne.

``What made Jessica special was the fact that at 7, she was inspired by a dream that taught her how to live,″ said the Rev. Reggie Cleveland, the chaplain at F.E. Warren Air Force Base. ``In her mind, nothing was impossible. God bless the mother, God bless the father and God bless the flight instructor who taught that girl to dream.″

Cleveland was among six clergy members who each commented on the impact Jessica had on the community.

Jessica’s mother, Lisa Blair Hathaway, flew back to California with the bodies of her daughter, ex-husband and Reid on Saturday. A funeral service for Jessica was scheduled for Monday afternoon in Pescadero, Calif., her hometown.

Services for Reid were scheduled for Monday morning at Our Lady of the Pillar in Half Moon Bay, Calif., and a funeral for Lloyd Dubroff was scheduled for Tuesday at the Temple Methodist United Church in San Francisco.

Pando also read a letter from Jessica’s older brother, Dave Dubroff, who remembered his father as a man who encouraged his children to dream and his sister as a girl who was ``at home in the air.′

``Here’s to the father-daughter adventure that will never end,″ Dubroff’s letter said.

Several speakers also questioned calls for limits on the age of people allowed to fly airplanes that surfaced immediately after the crash.

``I would ask those people if children have to wait until a certain age to dream.″ said James Steven Smith, reading from a poem he wrote about the incident. ``Jessica said to herself `I don’t care about the rules, I want to fly across the United States.‴

The memorial ended with Jessica’s favorite song, ``A Whole New World,″ from the Walt Disney film ``Aladdin.″

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