Nearly 1,000 people turned out to a memorial service for the father and son killed in the fiery mid-air collision of two private planes in McKinney.
48-year-old Robert Navar was killed on New Year’s Eve along with Greg and Tim Barber, who were traveling in the other plane.
As the Barber family walked into First United Methodist Church in Plano on Monday to celebrate the lives of Greg and Tim, it was clear from the turnout that the father and son touched many people.
Like his father, Greg's son, Ben, graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy. Greg sent him a letter during his first year at school.
“My dad wrote me a letter, and I actually been carry it in my wallet the last six years,” he said. “This test or, maybe better, tribulation will help you find and realize what you're made of. You'll be just fine. When times get tough, remember to endure. The prize is worth it.”
Ben revealed that he too recently shared those words of wisdom with Tim, who just finished his first semester at the academy days before the accident.
“Tim's love for the Air Force was only surpassed by his love of his family and of course the lord,” said Grace Harrison, Tim’s friend. “Those touched by Tim will carry it with him forever.”
The mid-air collision killed both the Barbers and the pilot in the other plane, Robert Navar. The investigation could take up to a year.
But at Monday's service, the focus was on remembering the good times. Immediately after, the 'quiet birdmen' flew in formation past the church. The family watched on and said farewell to a father and son who loved to fly.
“Our lives are better having known Lt. Col Greg Barber and Cadet Tim Barber because they passed our way. We've had a glimpse of what living ready is all about,” said Pastor Tom Waitschies. “Both of them would tell us today: Aim high. Be prepared. Live ready.”
Greg and Tim Barber will both receive a military service and be buried at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs.
Meanwhile, investigators say it could take up to a year to complete the investigation into the plane crash.