Services Set for 5 Jehovah's Witness Elders

By: Brian Gregory Email
By: Brian Gregory Email

Pigeon Forge (WVLT) - A memorial service has been set for the 5 Jehovah's Witness elders killed Saturday in a plane crash.

Craig Clark of Elizabethton, Gerald Booth of Unicoi County
Randall Walp of Chattanooga, Victor Jim Osborne of Morristown, and
Leon Rosko of Pigeon Forge will be remembered Friday, September 7th, at a memorial at the Kingdom Hall in Johnson City.

The church says Osborne was the pilot and owned the plane that crashed.

Friends tell Volunteer TV News, Osborne also routinely offered his services to Angel Flight.

That organization helps offer free flights for charitable and medical needs.

Members of the Kingdom Hall in Pigeon Forge say Rosko was 56 years old. He leaves behind a wife and three children.

The single-engine Beech Bonanza crashed shortly after takeoff Saturday morning on Holston Mountain just after leaving the Elizabethton municipal airport in Carter County.

The crash site wasn't discovered until Sunday night.

Today, all five elders are being remembered.

Stephen McLamb has more.

"He loved the ministry and Jim loved to fly."

Pilot Jim Osborne was one of five Jehovah Witness elders killed in a plane crash on Saturday.

Those close to him say it was like being on pins and needles because the wait was so long to find out what happened.

"You knew the terrain they were having to go over and you want to hope for the best but you fear for the worst," fellow Jehocah's Witness Elder Roy Waite said.

In the end it was the worst as everyone on the plane headed for Virginia died.

"It's been a difficult time to cope with but we have comfort from the Scriptures knowing the Bible's hope of a resurrection," says Jim Ferrell, a Jehovah's Witness elder from Pigeon Forge.

Leon Rosko of Pigeon Forge also perished in the crash.

All were part of a regional building committee that serves to build Kingdom Halls. This crash took the lives of four out of five members on that committee.

"Obviously, it's a tremendous loss but you try and regroup and see if we can keep moving forward," said Waite, who also preaches and works in Morristown.

Ferrell describes Rosko, a retired contractor, as a man who loved the ministry.

"Devoted even while working much of his time to the public ministry locally giving Bible talks here at the Kingdom Hall."

Waite says Osborne was also dedicated to the ministry and flying in service to others in a program called Angel Flights.

"That's been put together by a bunch of pilots where they aid individuals that are in need of medical attention and fly them to all parts of the country as need be," Waite said.

The Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board are both investigating what caused the crash.

Information from WJHL-TV and the Associated Press was used in this report.

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