When Greensburg Police Detective Bill Meyerrose officially released the names Monday afternoon of the four Decatur County residents killed in a weekend plane crash, the news was a surprise to few.
Rumors had swirled throughout the community and through social media that Don and Barbara Horan and Stephen and Denise Butz were the victims of the fatal crash, and several area residents had paid tribute to those lost hours before the names were released by investigators.
When the official word finally came, those who knew the deceased were at last able to grieve publicly.
Bishop Christopher J. Coyne, auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis released a statement Monday afternoon offering his “heartfelt sympathy to the families and friends” of the victims.
“These deaths are particularly painful because the Horans leave behind four girls and the Butzes two boys.”
Bishop Coyne went on to describe the Horans as “very active in serving their paris and the greater archdiocese over the years.”
The statement detailed Don Horan’s many contributions to various Catholic church services throughout the community, including his “key role” in helping raise money for the new St. Mary’s Elementary School which opened in August.
“I ask everyone to please keep the Horans and the Butzes in their thoughts and prayers,” Bishop Coyne said via the statement.
Following the press conference called by investigators Monday afternoon, Greensburg Mayor Gary Herbert called the Horans and the Butzes “pillars of the community” and said both families will be greatly missed.
Det. Meyerrose echoed those sentiments, saying the four victims would be “missed immensely.” Meyerrose indicated Greensburg’s “closely-knit” community led to the Butzes and the Horans being well known throughout the county.
What was not as well known were the many good deeds of the two men and two women lost Sunday.
Greensburg-Decatur County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Jeff Emsweller called Don Horan one of the community’s “secret angels,” and stated he never saw Horan without “a hearty handshake and a smile on his face.”
Emsweller said Horan preferred to stay out of the public eye while making his contributions. The Chamber Executive Director also referred to the victims as “terrific people.”
A prominent businessman, Horan purchased the strip mall that used to house Greensburg’s K-Mart. Horan used a portion of those buildings to house Collection Associates, Inc., an accounts-receivable agency.
Receivables Management Partners, which now operates Greensburg’s Collection Associates released a statement Monday night, saying, “The entire RMP family joins the Greensburg community in grieving the loss of both Don and his wife, Barb, as well as the other victims of this tragic accident.”
RMP said through the statement that those killed in Sunday’s crash are now “in a better place,” and the group offered prayers for the Horan’s four daughters.
Don Horan’s neighbor, Larry Moore, said of Don, “He was one of those guys that lived life to the fullest and tried to do the right thing for himself, his family, and his community.”
Moore humorously recalled that he often referred to Don Horan as “Neighbor Don,” while Don returned the greeting by calling Larry “Neighbor Larry.”
Dr. Michael Layne hopes to lend a hand to those struggling with the loss of the four beloved community members by inviting those grieving to visit his MDL Coffee and Tea store between 5 and 9 p.m. Wednesday. That time, Layne said, will be set aside “for those who wish to talk or process their grief.” Dr. Layne added he felt it was “important to reach out to the community” following the deaths.
Responders to the tragic accident had finished much of their work by press time Tuesday.
EMA Director Rob Duckworth, who helped organize much of the search for the lost plane Sunday night, told the Daily News clean-up of the site was completed between Monday night and Tuesday morning.
Officials did not have any more information about the crash at press time.
The Daily News received word Tuesday afternoon that a memorial mass for all four crash victims will begin at 10 a.m. Friday in the Greensburg Community High School gymnasium. Father John Meyer, of St. Mary’s Catholic Church, will officiate the ceremony.
A visitation for family and friends will take place from 4 to 9 p.m. at the new St. Mary’s Catholic Elementary School Thursday.
Contact: Brent Brown 812-663-3111 x7056