Excerpts from the ChicagoTribune.com:
James M. Patton, 69, a former firefighter and assistant fire chief in Tinley Park, was killed when his plane crashed into a field Saturday at the Chicago Glider Club in Minooka, according to Will County Sheriff Deputy Chief Tom Budde.
Witnesses at the club, told investigators they saw one of the wings of Patton’s plane dip after the glider detached from the tow plane. The glider then stalled and nose-dived into the field shortly after.
Patton’s wife Gwen, said her husband has held a pilot’s license for his Cessna plane for at least 25 years. He began flying the glider plane about 10 years ago.
He was a 25-year veteran of the Tinley Park Fire Department. He started out as a firefighter in 1967 and rose through the ranks to eventually be named assistant fire chief in 1976. He held that post until he retired in 1992.
He was involved in setting up MABAS. He also played a key role in helping computerize the fire department, Deputy Fire Chief Steve Klotz said.
Patton is survived by Gwen, his wife of 48 years; two daughters, Lisa (John) Ouradnik and Chris, and two granddaughters, Molly and Carter.