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Arizona service planned for Stewart family, pilot killed in helicopter crash
The Feb. 14 Arizona helicopter crash that claimed the life of food service mogul and former Islander Thomas J. Stewart also killed four others, who were named by Services Group of America on Friday.
With Stewart, 64, on the helicopter were Stewart’s wife and daughter — Madena Stewart, 40, and Sydney Stewart, 5 — pilot Rick Morton, 63, and Madena’s brother Mailang Abudula. Two dogs also perished in the accident.
The memorial service for Thomas, Madena and Sydney Stewart, Rick Morton and Mailang Abudula will be held at 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 28, at Phoenix First Campus in Phoenix, Ariz.
No local memorial services have been announced, though there is a possibility one will be planned, said Hans Youngman, general manager of Misty Isle Farm.
An online memorial and remembrance page has been set up to remember Stewart, the owner of Vashon’s Misty Isle Farm and CEO of Services Group of America, a company with more than 4,000 employees.
Visit the Services Group of America Web site to leave a condolence message or read the messages of others online.
Stewart and his family were aboard his private aircraft on Valentine’s Day when the Eurocopter experienced difficulties and tailspun into the ground, killing all five passengers.
The helicopter was traveling from the Flagstaff area to Scottsdale Air Park when it crashed in a desert wash at approximately 3 p.m.
The cause of the accident is currently under investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration, in a process that could take months.
Stewart’s pilot, Morton, was a longtime Islander who relocated to Arizona in 2006 when Stewart moved there. Family members and friends are also mourning his loss.
“He was a jovial, loving man who would always go out of his way to help everybody,” said Morton’s niece Joelle Adams. “He was really down to earth and really comical.”