Cause of fatal Colorado crash undetermined; service Saturday

Service Saturday for one of two area men killed last week

tgrubb@newsobserver.comSeptember 18, 2012 

— A memorial service will be held Saturday for one of two area men killed last week in a plane crash in south-central Colorado.

The crash remains under investigation, and the local coroner has not released the bodies to their families. National Transportation Safety Board spokesman Keith Holloway said a recovery team is working to retrieve the plane. A final report could take 12 to 18 months.

Dr. Bruce Dalton, 69, of Hurdle Mills, will be remembered at 3 p.m. Saturday at St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church on St. Mary’s Road in Hillsborough. Services for his friend Steven Huber, 57, of Hillsborough, have not been announced.

Both men were killed Thursday when Dalton’s single-engine Mooney M20J aircraft crashed in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, south of Pueblo, Colo. Civil Air Patrol officers found the crash site early Saturday morning.

The men had left the Person County Airport on Sept. 11 to attend an air show in Reno, Nev. They attended a Wisconsin air show together last year, said Douglas Quick, Huber’s friend and employer.

Quick, president of Pinnacle Funding at Brightleaf Square in Durham, said Huber had worked as a mortgage consultant since 2006. The 1983 UNC-Charlotte graduate previously worked as a systems engineer with Bay Networks Inc. He and his wife Sue Huber have four children and one grandchild, Quick said.

Quick said Monday was the first day he had coffee at his desk without his golf partner. He also was giving Huber tennis lessons, he said.

“He had two passions: flying planes and helping people,” Quick said. “He was helpful. He was giving. He was a good guy (and) very gregarious.”

Both men were certified, experienced pilots – Huber as a private pilot, and Dalton as an instrument-rated commercial pilot.

Dalton, the retired founder and president of OccuHealth Inc., was a pediatrician and occupational health specialist. He and his wife, Denise Dalton, have two children and three grandchildren.

Dalton graduated from Davidson College and the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Medicine. He also earned master’s degrees in health care administration from Baylor University and public health from Johns Hopkins University. In 1985, he retired from the U.S. Army. He formerly worked at U.S. HealthWorks Inc., Bell Atlantic and Northern Telecom.

In 1997, he became joint master with the Rougemont-based Red Mountain Hounds fox-hunting club.

That’s where Rougemont resident Carol Riggs met him roughly 25 years ago. He loved the tradition of hunting and his hunt family, and his death has been hard, she said.

“Every year at our hunt ball, he would delight us all with his smooth dance steps as he glided across the dance floor with Denise in hand,” Riggs said in an email. “He always had a dance with my daughter, and she looked forward to it because he would make you feel like you were a great dancer.”

In 2003, Dalton lost his leg below the knee and broke a hip when his glider crashed shortly after takeoff from Person County Airport.

His daughter, Audrey Dalton Reichardt, said the family has always been close, hiking, skiing and horseback riding together. Her father was a strong, ethical role model whom she could count on, no matter what, and he never took “no” for an answer, she said.

When his doctors said he shouldn’t expect to walk again, he came back to ride horses, fly planes and even have a special ski made that would let him go straight despite his leg’s tendency to take him in the opposite direction, she said.

“That’s what really gives us comfort,” Reichardt said. “He was really determined to live life to the fullest.”

Grubb: 919-932-8746

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