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"Reunited sweethearts die in plane crash"

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Reunited sweethearts die in plane crash
The Pittsburgh (PA) Tribune-Review

High-school sweethearts from Mt. Lebanon who broke up in college and
reunited 35 years later died in a Maryland plane crash last week. 

Bobbi Getz, 56, of Mt. Lebanon, a certified public accountant, and Dan
Eberhardt, 57, a Chicago plastics executive, were killed when his
single-engine plane crashed shortly after takeoff Thursday from an airport
in Anne Arundel County, Md. 

The couple had met in high school and broke up -- but then Eberhardt, of
Downers Grove, Ill., tracked down Getz after his divorce about four years
ago, said her son. 

"I'm glad that my mom and Dan died together," said Grant Getz, 21. "They
were inseparable." 

He said his mom took a leave from her job at a small firm to spend more time
with Eberhardt. "Dan was more important than work," Getz said. 

National Transportation Safety Board investigators are working to determine
what caused the crash. A preliminary investigation did not show structural
or mechanical problems, officials said. 

Shortly after takeoff from Tipton Airport, the pilot -- it is not clear
whether it was Eberhardt or Getz -- radioed that the plane was headed back.
The pilot did not signal distress. 

Seconds later, the plane clipped the top of a tree and crashed into a
clearing in a wooded area near the runway. A fire roared through the
six-seat craft, consuming the engine's fuel and charring much of the plane. 

Grant Getz said officials told him the pair died instantly. No one on the
ground was injured. 

Eberhardt was a licensed pilot with about 14 years of experience. Getz was a
student pilot, according to the NTSB. 

Eberhardt had founded his own plastics recycling company, Chicago-based MRC
Polymers, in 1980. The company has more than 140 employees and seven
facilities in the U.S. and Mexico, according to its Web site. 

The dashboards of more than 5 million Chrysler mini-vans feature his
company's recycled resins, said MRC Chief Financial Officer Steve Sola. 

"He was the most caring CEO I've ever worked for," Sola said. "He was more
concerned about the staff and the plant than himself. And that makes it hard
for everyone here."


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