Utah pilot remembered for his service and love of flying
Mark Patey still has work to do on his hangar, which is right next to that of his brother-in-law Robert Marion Lamb at the Spanish Fork-Springville airport.
Lights hang from hooks, most of it is still a wood frame, but in the corner is a finished bathroom, with a door, tiles and painted walls. Patey had only mentioned in passing to Lamb that the plumbing was done, but when Patey came back to the hangar a week later, he'd found Lamb had finished the whole bathroom for him.
"When I asked him what I owe him, he just laughed," Patey said. Lamb joked that Patey just better let him run over from his own hangar next door to use the bathroom.
That was six months ago. Lamb's hangar looks lonely these days, Patey said.
Lamb, 45, of Woodland Hills, and Peter John Mrowiec, 58, of Ontario, Canada, died Thursday in a fiery plane crash near Nephi.
The single-engine Alarus 235 went down about one mile southeast of the Nephi airport and 100 yards south of Highway 132, according to Juab County Sheriff Aldon Orme.
Orme said Mrowiec had traveled to Utah to buy the plane and had retained Lamb as a flight instructor to help familiarize him with the aircraft.
"At the time of the crash, severe weather moved through the area with strong winds accompanied by heavy downpours," the sheriff said. "We do believe the weather was a factor in the crash."
Patey said Lamb died helping a stranger in the cockpit which was right in line with the rest of his life.
Lamb constantly gave his time for other people, whether it was helping them build a deck, instructing them in flight or attending their track meets or soccer games. It was almost baffling how he made time for as many people as he did every day, Patey said.
If there was any fault in Lamb, it was that sometimes he didn't take care of himself because he was too busy taking care of others, Patey said. He drove a dirty car, but when Patey met his brother-in-law last week at the Spanish Fork-Springville airport, Lamb was cleaning and vacuuming out his plane so Patey could borrow it. Patey's was temporarily out of commission.
"I told him [he] didn't need to do that, but he just said no, no, no, I'll help you," Patey said.
They exchanged a high-five, and that was the last time Patey saw him.
Just last year, Lamb told Patey that when his time comes, he'd hope it would be in a plane.
"To have that conversation and then have him go like he did. ... It was some comfort he actually went doing the one thing he loved as much as service, which was flying," Patey said.