Deep-sea fishing was next frontier for S.C. pilot

Staff WriterSeptember 22, 2007 

Elevator repairman Garry S. Reid loved flying so much that to reach a recent job interview he hopped on a plane and piloted it from Virginia to South Carolina.

But he had been ready to trade flying for fishing when his 1947 single-engine Navion plane crashed into McCall's Bar-B-Que & Seafood restaurant in Clayton on Friday, co-workers said.

Reid died in the crash, authorities told his family. He had turned 54 Thursday.

Reid had been revved up about reeling in mahi-mahi, tuna and Spanish mackerel after hearing stories from Neil Johanson, a co-worker at ThyssenKrupp Elevator in Myrtle Beach.

"He couldn't wait for me to go out with him," said Johanson, who fishes in the Atlantic Ocean every weekend.

Eager to hit the waters, Reid -- who had been on vacation this week -- had just returned Thursday from a trip up to Michigan to bring back another boat, neighbors said.

To help pay for the boats, Reid had decided to sell his plane to a man in Virginia who used to take care of it, Johanson said. Co-workers think that's where Reid was headed when he crashed.

It was an old plane, but it was Reid's baby, Johanson said.

"It's so old -- I wouldn't go up in it," Johanson said. But Reid told him not to discount the aircraft: "'This thing's unbelievable,'" he would say.

Reid had been unhappy he didn't have a hangar at the airport for his plane and could only tie it down outside, Johanson said. Reid had flown less than when he lived in Virginia, Johanson said.

"He was ready -- three years to retirement," Johanson said. "That was his plan, to buy a bigger and better boat and learn to off-shore fish."

Hard worker, loved his dog

Pat Roberts said that in February she sold Reid the house next door to her in a rural part of Galivants Ferry, S.C. The elevator union man moved to take a job with ThyssenKrupp after selling the company he owned in Chantilly, Va. -- Northern Virginia Elevator.

"Garry was very hard-working and very private," Roberts said. "He mowed the lawn for me. Anytime I needed something, he'd do it."

Reid doted on his pit bull, Barney, Roberts said.

On his way home from fixing broken and stuck elevators, Reid would pick up hamburgers from Burger King for the dog.

Roberts tossed a few jumbo cheeseburgers to the pit bull Friday.

(News researchers Becky Ogburn and Lamara Williams-Hackett contributed to this report.)

peggy.lim@newsobserver.com or (919) 836-5799

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