Family, friends mourning loss of veteran pilot, son
The family and friends of a veteran San Diego-area pilot and his son were mourning their loss today after the bodies of the two men were found in the wreckage of a plane in mountains near Cambridge, Idaho. Lawrence Bruce "Grady" Gaylord, 58, and his son, Lawrence Bruce "Larry" Gaylord III, both of the Fallbrook area, took off from San Diego 13 days ago. They were last seen when they stopped for refueling in Elko, Nev.
Larry Gaylord would have been 31 last Wednesday.
An Idaho rancher spotted the wreckage Thursday night on Hitt Mountain, about eight miles west of Cambridge near the Oregon border, officials of the Washington County sheriff's office said.
News of the deaths stunned members of the Sheriff's Department's Aerial Search and Rescue Unit. The elder Gaylord had served with the unit for many years and had been head of the volunteer air reserve unit twice. "It's like you lost a good friend," spokesman Ray Welch said yesterday. "The men are taking it pretty hard. He (the elder Gaylord) was well-liked. He was always going out of his way for people."
The elder Gaylord was considered an expert pilot and had taken part in many aerial searches since joining the aerial unit in 1970. "He went into tough places where it was tough getting in and getting out," Welch said.
Idaho officials said the elder Gaylord reportedly planned to stop in Caldwell to inspect property he was considering buying. He was flying over the Paradise Mountain Military Operations Area about 30 miles north of the Nevada border when his single-engine Cessna 180 disappeared from the FAA radar screen, said Lt. George Kneeshaw, commander of the air wing of the San Diego County Sheriff's Department.
Officials said there were indications the plane struck a high-voltage power-transmission line when it crashed.
The elder Gaylord, born and raised in Lander, Wyo., served as a police officer in Klamath Falls, Ore., and in San Diego, where he was recognized as honor man in the San Diego Police Academy when he graduated in 1962.
After nine years with the Police Department, he opened two Winchell's doughnut shops in the El Cajon area. He then left the doughnut business and worked as a building contractor.
As a volunteer pilot with the sheriff's aerial unit, Gaylord held several officer positions, including adjutant vice commander and commander.
Gaylord is survived by five children -- Daphne, Josh, Garth, Eric and Jody -- the brothers and sisters of Larry.
He also is survived by brothers Garth of Fallbrook and Marshall of Buenos Aires, Argentina; sister Lance Sula of Northern California; his mother, Martha June Allen, and stepmother, Irene Gaylord, of Lander, Wyo.
Funeral arrangements are pending but will be held in Lander, Gaylord's brother, Garth, said this morning. The bodies are expected to be released early this week by the Federal Aviation Administration, which is investigating the crash, he added.