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Plane crash victims remembered for generosity, philanthropy

August 1, 2018

This photo provided by WVII-TV/ABC7 shows the tail of a small plane that crashed near Greenville Municipal Airport in Greenville, Maine, Monday, July 30, 2018. Police in Maine are investigating the deadly plane crash near a small airport. (WVII-TV/ABC7 via AP)

GREENVILLE, Maine (AP) — Flags are at half-staff in the Canadian town where a pilot, his wife and daughter lived before a fatal airplane crash in Maine.

The pilot, Joe Robertson, and his wife, Anita, were major philanthropists in southern Ontario after the sale of a dental supply business.

The couple from Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, and their 24-year-old daughter, Laura, were killed Monday when their twin-engine plane crashed in Greenville. They were headed to a vacation on Prince Edward Island.

The cause of the crash remains unknown.

The National Transportation Safety Agency reported that Joe Robertson alerted air traffic controllers about losing power. But there have been no conclusions, and the investigation is continuing.

Carman Adair, a business partner, said Joe Robertson was a Harvard MBA who knew how to build a business.

“He was unbelievable. He was a machine. You couldn’t find a better business partner. He’s brilliant and caring and thoughtful and fair,” he said.

The business partners took Arcona Health Inc. from inception into a firm with $65 million in annual sales and over 900 staff before it was sold in 1998, Adair said. Less than a week before the plane crash, the two had agreed to partner again on a business, Adair said.

Brian McMullan, a former mayor of St. Catharines, Ontario, said in the years that followed the sale of the dental supply business the couple became key philanthropists in the Niagara area.

He said the couple’s early donation to the St. Catharines performing arts center helped revitalize the city’s center.

They were also strong supporters of Brock University, the United Way, and Niagara Health, he said. One of their donations funds a bursary to support hospital staff taking classes at the St. Catharines campus.

Laura Robertson, their daughter, worked at Brock University and was a volunteer firefighter in Niagara-on-the-Lake. The Robertsons were survived by two adult sons in the Toronto area.

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