GIRARD - Melissa Lallo-Johnson, daughter of a Girard couple killed in a small aircraft crash Sunday, said the accident occurred while the two were visiting her in Kansas City, Mo.
John K. Lallo and his wife, Diana, of Girard, were killed about 3 p.m. Sunday when officials say a single-engine plane crashed shortly after take-off from Charles B. Wheeler Downtown Airport in Kansas City.
A grief-stricken Lallo-Johnson told the Tribune Chronicle the couple was dedicated to their four children above all else.
Screen grab / WYTV 33 News
The scene of an airplane crash site is shown Sunday in Kansas City, Mo. Fire spokesman James Garrett said the single-engine plane crashed shortly after taking off Sunday from the Charles B. Wheeler Downtown Airport. Killed in the crash were John K. Lallo and his wife, Diana, of Girard.
"They were the most amazing people and parents," she said Monday night.
Officials still have not told the family the cause of the accident, according to Lallo-Johnson, but she has been told engine problems may have contributed.
"We were told that he made a call saying there was an issue with the engine," Lallo-Johnson said. "We don't know anything for sure yet."
Lallo-Johnson's shock and grief was shared by Vern Worona of Girard, who said he learned early Monday that his longtime friends and neighbors died in the crash.
"We have known them since 1986. All three of their daughters took turns babysitting our children. Fantastic family. Such a great neighbor. I was grief stricken almost instantly. Four children. All great kids. Hopefully the children will be OK," he said.
The Jackson County, Mo., medical examiner's office confirmed the victims' identities Monday, but did not give preliminary causes of death. Investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board were at the crash site on Monday.
According to flight records, the Air McRoyal plane left the Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport about 3:30 p.m. Thursday for Purdue University Airport in Lafayette, Ind. The Mooney M-20 aircraft arrived in Lafayette about 5:30 p.m. and left less than an hour later for Wheeler airport where, according to the records, it landed about 7:50 p.m.
There is no record of any flights after Thursday.
John Lallo was president of McRoyal Industries on Lilac Street on Youngstown's North Side. He took over the business founded in 1956 by his father, John N. Lallo.
Spokespeople at McRoyal Industries declined to release a statement.
McRoyal Industries fabricates furniture, racks and other equipment for use in food service and other commercial, industrial and residential buildings.
After designing the interior of the first Arby's restaurant that opened in 1964 in Boardman, McRoyal began distributing equipment and furniture nationwide to businesses like McDonald's, Wendy's, Chilis, Chi Chi's, Denny's, Abercrombie & Fitch, Verizon, Capital One, Ben & Jerry's, Owens Corning and now call centers and other businesses.
The company's website says its products can be found around the world as far away as Puerto Rico, Curacao, Japan, Poland and the U.K.
Lallo was a tenant of a newly opened T-hangar at the Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport in Vienna, where he housed his aircraft, according to Dan Dickten, director of Aviation for the Western Reserve Port Authority.
"He will be missed by our aviation community and staff at YNG," Dickten said.
Worona, also a local businessman, said Lallo will be missed by the community.
"John installed all my office tables and counters in 1994. I still have them to this day. He did great quality work. He was just a great person and a really good man. They were good people."
In addition to the business, John Lallo was a member of the Liberty Board of Education; Diana retired as a science teacher from W.S. Guy Middle School in 2007.