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Deacon and wife safe after plane crashes into their yard


The Kellers, who have been married for 48 years, observe what’s left of their home, but their thoughts and prayers are with the pilot who lost his life and his family. Photo By Michael Alexander

Deacon Greg Kandra - published on 03/29/17

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It happened outside Atlanta: 

Faith and the support of the St. Joseph Church community are sustaining Deacon Norm Keller and his wife, Barbara, after a private plane crashed into their front yard, exploding in flames and destroying their home. The Cessna Citation crashed at approximately 7:20 p.m. Friday, March 24, as the Kellers attended a parish fish fry and Stations of the Cross. The fire destroyed the Vistawood Lane home where they had lived for a decade. The pilot, 78-year-old Robert George Westlake, died in the crash. The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the cause of the accident. The pilot had reported mechanical difficulties prior to witnesses observing the plane spiraling downward. “Chances are we probably wouldn’t have made it out of there,” said Deacon Keller. “Barbara and I, we have our lives. The Blessed Mother and her Son have a plan for us.” Msgr. John Walsh, St. Joseph’s pastor, received word of the crash from a parishioner, who lives near the couple. She told the priest what had happened and asked if the Kellers were at church. “Msgr. Walsh called me after Stations of the Cross and said ‘I need to talk to you’,” recalled Deacon Keller. “When you get that news, it’s hard to compute that in your head.”

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