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Man killed in plane crash identified as Tucson-area veterinarian Timothy Krone

Published: Oct. 22, 2021 at 5:10 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - He loved to fly, but left his influence on earth. Family and friends are remembering the lone person killed in a plane crash near the Baboquivari Peak Wilderness earlier this week. The Pima County Medical Examiner’s Office identified the pilot as Timothy Krone, a local veterinarian.

According to an FAA report, Dr. Krone was piloting a Rockwell AC11 when it crashed Sunday, Oct. 17.

According to FlightAware, the plane left Ryan Airfield around 1:39 p.m. and traveled southwest before crashing around 2:02 p.m. The plane circled the Kitt Peak Observatory and headed south, making two sharp declines before disappearing from radar.

Darby Shirley is Dr. Krone’s stepdaughter. She says he was a father to her and her brother for 16 years.

“He had such an amazing impact on my life,” said Shirley. “Everything he taught me I will never forget.”

Shirley says Dr. Krone was a pilot for 20 years.

“He was a private pilot, but he also flew for Angel Flights, he was part of the Civil Air Patrol,” she said. “He would rent his planes out to an aviation school so other people would have a chance to enjoy flying.”

Shirley says Sunday started off like any other day.

“Woke up, made breakfast,” she said. “He was going to go take his plane out. He wanted to hone in his skills because he had an aptitude test on Tuesday. He went up at like 1:30 p.m. and wasn’t responding to any text messages from my mom. He is one of those people that as soon as he takes off, he tells you he is getting in the plane, as soon as he lands, he tells you that he landed safely. So, we pulled up a flight tracker and it showed the flight end in the middle of nowhere.”

The family contacted the Pima County Sheriff’s Department to report an overdue plane. Search and rescue crews found the wreckage, but said “no survivors had been located.” Shirley says the family clung to hope.

“In my mind, they didn’t find anyone,” she said. “We were kind of hopeful that he had gotten out of the plane and was trying to find his way to someone. A whole bunch of people out in that area said, ‘Oh, I hope he comes and knocks on my door.’ It was Sunday and we didn’t find out any positive identification until [Thursday].”

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating, but Shirley says it could take up to a year for her family to get answers about what happened. One thing they have learned, though, is that Dr. Krone touched a lot of lives.

He worked at The Animal Care Center of Green Valley, which sent an email to customers announcing his death.

Letter from Animal Care Center of Green Valley
Letter from Animal Care Center of Green Valley(Otto Siegler)

”It is with deep sorrow and a very heavy heart that I inform you of the death of one of our esteemed doctors,” the center said in the email. “Dr. Timothy Krone passed away unexpectedly in a tragic airplane crash. Dr. Krone was our colleague and friend as well as an important member of our veterinary community. We will all miss him far more than words could ever express.”

Shirley says Dr. Krone taught at Pima Community College for nearly 10 years. He mentored hundreds of veterinarians, many of whom now serve our community.

“He was someone who learned every single day and he taught every single day,” said Shirley. “All he ever wanted to do was share his knowledge. [My family] will for sure have to keep learning new, crazy things. He would have wanted that.”

Loved ones have started a GoFundMe page to help with funeral arrangements. So far, more than $14,000 has been raised.

A community memorial will be held on Saturday, Oct. 23, at Udall Park from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Shirley hopes those who knew Dr. Krone will attend and share their memories of him.

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