Illinois Grandparents Die in Plane Crash on Their Way to Visit Grandkids for Thanksgiving

A couple from Freeburg, Illinois, was looking forward to spending the holiday season with family. The duo flew in a small plane from St. Louis to North Carolina, planning to be with loved ones for Thanksgiving. Tragically, it wasn’t meant to be.


Patty Kreher and Joe Kreher were well-loved in their community. Their family also adored them, and the proud grandparents enjoyed spending time with their children and grandchildren.

Joe was a capable pilot, and he had transported himself and his wife successfully numerous times. They were making their way to their son’s home in North Carolina, but they never reached their destination.

They Reported Engine Troubles
The couple’s journey on November 19, 2022, started smoothly, but radio communication between Joe and the control tower indicated they ran into trouble.

One of their final messages revealed: “One engine is not making as much power as the other one, we’re okay, but that’s why we had the hesitation.”

Photos and videos from the crash site displayed shocking scenes. The plane was in bad condition and appeared as if it had been split in half.

The Shocking Crash
Joe, a certified single and multi-engine airplane instructor, and his wife were the only people aboard the aircraft. Their twin-engine Piper PA-30 crashed on Saturday morning in Winston-Salem.

Joe was the registered owner of the plane, and it had been in service for two decades. Flightradar24 revealed that the couple briefly landed in London, Kentucky, one hour and 45 minutes before the crash. The purpose of their stop was still unknown.


The shocking incident occurred in a residential area near a few homes and had heartbreaking consequences—the crash cost the doting grandparents their lives.

It Was a Devastating Incident
The plane landed near Susan Harrison-Bailey’s backyard. Fortunately, no citizens on the ground were injured due to the airplane crash. According to Harrison-Bailey, whose home was spared, she initially couldn’t determine what happened. She stated:

“I couldn’t tell that it was a plane. There was a lot of smoke … I could see it was smashed into the trees. It landed straight up and down.”

Photos and videos from the crash site displayed shocking scenes. The plane was in bad condition and appeared as if it had been split in half.

The Cause of the Crash
Investigations are still underway, and the National Transportation Safety Board revealed that they would spend the next six months determining the cause of the incident. Checking the spark plugs, fuel, and other intricate factors would keep the team busy.


While loved ones wait for answers, they are left mourning the devastating loss of Joe and Patty. Seth Speiser, the mayor of Freeburg, expressed:

“It’s just a tragedy that this happened so close to Thanksgiving. Our prayers are out for this family.”

Their Passing Would Be Hard on Many
The couple’s tragic passing comes at a time intended to be filled with joy and love. This festive season will be a tough one for their family members. The mayor also honored the couple for the role they played in their community.

He noted that the shocking news would be hard on everyone who knew them, including the employees at their machine shop. Their absence would be felt deeply, and the mayor added:

“They had an unbelievable business out there. I feel sorry for all the families that work there too. Because it was a mom-and-pop shop and now mom and pop are no longer there.”

Condolences to the Grandparents
Netizens were stunned and heartbroken seeing scenes from the plane crash. They offered their heartfelt condolences and sent up prayers for the couple’s grieving friends and family:

“OMG!! My heart is aching for their family! They are in my heart and prayers!!”

– (JuliaJacqueline M. Brusaca) November 22, 2022

“Rest in peace grandparents. So sorry for your family’s loss. It won’t be a happy thanksgiving without you two.”

– (@CarolMi24468513) November 22, 2022

“My condolences to their loved ones.”

– (@southernprep119) November 23, 2022

“So sad. Sending prayers for the family and friends.”

– (Barbara Anderson) November 23, 2022

Navigating life after a heartbreaking loss is never easy. It will take time for Joe and Patty’s loved ones to heal, and we pray God grants them the strength to continue. RIP, sweet grandparents.

Click here for a story about a family involved in an accident. While life was lost, there was a silver lining, and two kids were saved thanks to unknown heroes.


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