Hundreds Pay Last Respects To Young Pilot In Cheyenne
CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) _ Young and spunky, 7-year-old Jessica Dubroff was remembered Sunday as a girl who died pursuing ``a dream that taught her how to live.″
``I don’t think I’ve ever seen a situation where a person so quickly captured the hearts and imaginations of so many,″ the Rev. David Rockwood said at a memorial service.
``Perhaps it was the simple joy of life that captured us, the innocent joy and excitement about doing something she loved. Even though her dream ended in tragedy, it touched our hearts, our souls. An even greater tragedy would be never to dream at all,″ Rockwood said.
Jessica, her father, Lloyd Dubroff, and flight instructor Joe Reid were killed Thursday when their single-engine airplane crashed in Cheyenne a few minutes after taking off in an icy rain.
The three fliers began their journey Wednesday in Half Moon Bay, Calif., and were planning to fly to Falmouth, Mass., in a quest by Jessica to become the youngest pilot to cross the continent.
Investigators have said the plane was carrying too much weight when it crashed.
Jessica’s mother, Lisa Blair Hathaway, flew back to California on Saturday with the bodies. Jessica’s funeral was scheduled for Monday in her hometown of Pescadero, about 30 miles south of San Francisco.
At the Cheyenne Civic Center, teddy bears, balloons and flowers surrounded the podium. More then 900 people attended the service.
``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.″
Mayor Leo Pando read a letter from Jessica’s older brother, Dave Dubroff, who said his father encouraged his children to dream and his sister was a girl ``at home in the air.′
``Here’s to the father-daughter adventure that will never end,″ he wrote.
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.″
Services for Reid were scheduled Monday in Half Moon Bay, Calif., and Dubroff’s funeral was scheduled for Tuesday in San Francisco.