Officials say plane was caught between 2 converging storm cells
A second couple from Dallas has been identified as passengers on a plane that crashed 20 miles off the Florida coast on July 8.
Jeff Byron, 40, and Greg Arceneaux, 54, lived in the Lake Highlands area of Dallas and had been together 17 years.
Steve Barrows, 33, piloted the twin-engine Cessna 421. His partner of 11 years, Roland Schurrer, 40, was also on board. Schurrer was president of Quality Powder Coating LP of Carrollton. Barrows was the company pilot and in sales. They lived in the Knox-Henderson area.
Trish Hudson, who was friendly with both couples, said the four traveled together often.
Also on the plane was Mysela "Mike" Parks, 44, of Brandon, Fla. He produced promotional and training videos for McNichols Co., a company that manufactures steel and fiberglass components.
The plane left Collin County Regional Airport in McKinney at about 10 a.m. on July 8. Air Traffic Control in Jacksonville said Barrows reported "heavy turbulence, loss of control and inverted flight" just before controllers lost radar contact with the Cessna at 1:52 p.m.
The plane was at 5,000 feet when two thunderstorm systems converged in the area of the aircraft, according to the National Weather Service.
FAA records indicate that Barrows had "no accidents, incidents or other enforcement action" in his file.
Byron worked in marketing for Quality Powder Coating. The three Quality Powder Coating employees on board were traveling to a trade show in Tampa when the crash occurred.
Arceneaux worked as a loan officer for Moncor Mortgage Bank in Addison. Within the last year, he had lost his mother, a brother and a brother-in-law. He is survived by two sisters and another brother.
Hudson said Byron celebrated his 40th birthday on July 1 with a large party in Dallas. After the party, the two couples flew to Florida to celebrate with members of Byron’s family and then they came home earlier that week.
While the other three were returning to Florida on business, Arceneaux only decided to join his partner on the July 8 flight at the last minute.
As a teenager, Schurrer loved race cars, friends said. Later, for his own car, he needed powder coating and began producing it in his garage. That was the beginning of his company.
Barrows began flying at the age of 15. His mother said he took a job washing dishes at a local restaurant in Mesa, Ariz., where he was raised, to pay for lessons.
He received his private pilot’s license two weeks after graduation. He served in the Air Force and worked as an AP mechanic for Raytheon before going to work for his partner’s company.
By then, he had earned a commercial pilot’s license.
"His life was flying and he died doing what he loved most in life," his mother, Ann Barrows, said.
About her son’s partner, she said, "Roland was a son to us. When I came to Dallas they took me to the Rose Room, and to Friends when we went down to Cedar Creek Lake."
Describing Arceneaux and Bryon’s relationship, Hudson said, "They lived their lives without any excuses. They were a good couple. Role models. They knew what loyalty and commitment meant. They did everything they could to take care of their friends."
She said the two couples participated in many community events.
"We were always at gay Pride together," she said, adding that they regularly attended Black Tie Dinner, the DIFFA/Dallas Collection dinner and Toast to Life.
Halloween and Easter in the Park, where their dogs participated in the pooch parade, were other favorites.
Jake and Megan, Schurrer and Barrows’ two chocolate Labrador retrievers, were on the plane and also killed in the crash.
Schurrer is survived by his mother, Christiane Schurrer, his sister and her husband, Michelle and Kevin Pike, his niece Alyssa Pike and his aunt, Renate Blatt. His mother and sister both work at Quality Powder Coating. Barrows is survived by his parents, Ann and Ron Barrows of Meza, Ariz. and his brother, Brad.
Byron is survived by his parents, Jim and Myrna Byron, who live in Tennessee, and his sister Danielle and two nieces. Friends are temporarily caring for Arceneaux and Byron’s dogs, Madison and Thatcher.
A memorial service is tentatively scheduled for Cathedral of Hope on July 25 at 5 p.m.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition July 17, 2009.