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Obituary Index



California Genealogy and History Archives


Sutter County


N. M. Air Crash Kills Four Area Men
(pictures of Richard Wilbur, James Blevins, Fred Thomas)
Wilbur Plane Down
Four Yuba-Sutter men who lost their lives in the crash of a private plane near Albuquerque, N. M.; have been positively identified. Richard Wilbur, 46, prominent rancher died in the crash of his plane against a mountain near Albuquerque sometime Saturday night or Sunday. Also killed were three other men in the plane. James Blevins of Oswald Road, Sutter County rancher; Fred Thomas, 446 McRae Way, Yuba City, pilot of the plane; Lloyd Rogers, foreman on a Wilbur ranch in Yuba County. The men were flying to Tulsa, Okla., where Wilbur and Rogers were planning to take instructions at a flying school. They had expected to be there about a week, it is reported. 

Confusion surrounded both the identity and number of persons killed in the crash until a search party worked its way to the top of a 9,782 foot peak in the Sandia Mountains overlooking Albuquerque, where the wreckage of the twin -engine plane was discovered Sunday. The Wilbur plane left Yuba City Saturday and had not been heard from after it called in over Albuquerque Saturday night. Two men discovered the scattered wreckage while hiking in the rugged terrain, only miles from the city limits. they came back with two log books containing the names of the four men and reported they had seen three bodies and a women's coat. the Civil Air Patrol said the alert on the missing plane from Yuba City said only three men were abroad. Because of the confusion the CAP withheld the names mentioned in the log books until a coroner could reach the scene of the wreckage. The missing Yuba City plane was last heard from Saturday
(Cont. on page 3, Col 4)
when its pilot, Fred Thomas, Yuba city, called in. He reported no trouble at the time and was flying at 9,500 feet, the CAP said. The plane that smashed into the mountainside missed clearing the crest :by only a few feet" the spokesman said. A flight plan for Wilbur's red and white piper Apache had been filed at the Yuba County Airport flight service station but passengers were not listed, officials said. Wilbur who lived on Pease Road in Sutter is survived by his wife, Dorothy and two children, Richard, 14, and Pamela, 17. Also surviving are two brother, Roger, a Colusa rancher and Lloyd of Yuba City and his mother, Mrs Ethel Wilbur of Yuba City. Blevins, 40, is survived by his wife, Myrtiss, and children, Joanne, 17 and James, 20. Also surviving are his parents, Mr and Mrs Mort Blevins of Oswald Road and several sisters. Blevins had not planned to go on the flight until 1 hour before takeoff it was reported. Thomas, 31, was a pilot for Onstott Dusters in Yuba City. He is survived by his wife, Josephine of Yuba City and two sisters. Rogers, who was about 38, lived at Star Bend Ranch on Simpson Lane in Yuba County. Survivors include his wife, Betty and a son and daughter, and a brother, Al Rogers of Colusa.

Appeal Democrat, Monday, December 4, 1961 Pg 1

Blevins - Funeral services for James Blevins, 42, of Yuba City, will be conducted Friday at 3 p.m. at Ullrey Memorial Chapel. Burial will be in Sutter Cemetery. Blevins died Saturday in the crash near Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Appeal Democrat, Wednesday, December 6, 1961 Pg 22

Transcribed and submitted by April Hennes, Jul 2013