Elaine and Doug Blackhurst boarded a plane with their nephew, Alex Ruegner, and his flight instructor Tyson Brummett on July 3.
But what first was a celebration of 40 years of marriage turned into a search and recovery mission when the plane crashed in American Fork Canyon.
Tyler Blackhurst, the oldest of Doug and Elaine’s four boys, said his parents didn’t fly often, but they loved adventure.
“They were always doing fun things like this, and this was something that they were excited to be doing together,” said Blackhurst.
Just moments after Ruegner’s funeral, Blackhurst shared memories of his family with FOX 13.
“They knew how to listen, how to understand people,” said Blackhurst. “They knew how to serve and they always found opportunities to do something for somebody else.”
Blackhurst said his parents had spent previous wedding anniversaries bungee jumping.
“Elaine got five runs in and was upset because someone was slow in front of her,” said Blackhurst, laughing at the memory.
Flying with their nephew — Ruegner and his flight instructor and good friend Brummett — has only seemed fitting for this year’s celebration.
Loving people unconditionally was something Blackhurst said could describe all four of those who died when the plane went down.
Brummett’s wife has created a foundation in her and her husband’s name — a testament of the goodness of their hearts.
As crews continue their investigation on what caused the plane to go down, the family pieces together their memories.
“The outreach that each of our families have felt is perhaps the love being reciprocated that they had felt from these four individuals,” said Blackhurst.
Investigators have not said who was flying the plane.