A Jan. 12 plane crash near Lake Erie killed the founder of injection molder Edge Plastics Inc. of Mansfield, Ohio, his wife and another couple.
Killed were pilot David P. Eckstein, 67, and his wife, Janet M. Hanna, 66; and passengers John D. McCarter, 68, and his wife, Karen S. Saprano, 62, of Mansfield. Eckstein's recently purchased 1972 Cessna 340 crashed about 12:40 p.m. into the backyard of a home roughly 50 miles east of Toledo, according to the Ohio State Highway Patrol.
The plane was on approach to land at a regional airport. Officials there reported no distress call was made.
A Federal Aviation Administration investigator who saw the crash told state officials the plane was flying lower and slower than for a normal landing. The crash remains under investigation.
Eckstein's son Jerry of Lake St. Louis, Mo., said in a Jan. 14 telephone interview his father was an experienced pilot. ``He was totally in command of the aircraft,'' Jerry Eckstein said.
Eckstein's daughter Shelley Fisher, president of Edge Plastics, said, ``No daughter could ever ask for a better father.''
Fisher's husband, Mark, the firm's chief financial officer, died in 2005 after falling off the roof of the business. In 2003, the year David Eckstein retired, his first wife, Marilyn - Shelley and Jerry's mother - died of cancer.
David Eckstein was born April 23, 1940, in Tiro, Ohio. He graduated in 1968 from General Motors Institute (now Kettering University) in Flint, Mich., with a bachelor's degree in mechanical and electrical engineering.
He started his career as a pattern maker at GM and worked as a sales rep for HPM and Van Dorn molding machines before founding his own contract molding operations: D&M Plastics in Crestline, Ohio, in 1975; Shelby Plastics in Shelby, Ohio, in 1985; and Edge Plastics in 1989. D&M and Shelby eventually were merged into Edge, which employs 160.
His firms' customers included Little Tikes and Rubbermaid.
``He touched a lot of people in the plastics industry,'' said Sid Rains of Medina, Ohio, a manufacturers' representative for Milacron Inc. who has known the Ecksteins since the 1970s.
``He'll certainly be missed.''
Fisher spent about two decades working with her father, joining the business in 1985. She accompanied her father to industry conferences and conventions.
``Dad never met a stranger,'' she said. ``He thoroughly enjoyed meeting all those people.''
Jerry Eckstein also worked in his father's plants before becoming a commercial helicopter pilot and a property developer in Ohio and Missouri. He credits his business success and varied career to his father's advice.
``He taught me everything I know about plastics, but he didn't teach me everything he knew,'' Jerry Eckstein said.
David Eckstein was a member of the Tiffin University board of trustees in Tiffin, Ohio. Hanna was a former dean of the university's School of Arts and Sciences and a professor. They married in 2005.
As a licensed pilot and participant in the charitable Angel Flight Organization, Eckstein frequently flew patients to medical facilities across the United States. The Web site of the Experimental Aircraft Association's Young Eagles program lists Eckstein as having flown 358 volunteer flights to introduce young people to aviation.
``He just got into it,'' Ray Lyons, a Galion, Ohio-based instructor who taught Eckstein to fly, said of Eckstein's 11-year fascination with flying. ``I taught him and his grandson to fly.''