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"It's gonna be tough:" Wife, family members remember pilot killed in Collegedale crash

It's a big change for Gillisse's wife to go on without her favorite person, but family says he gave her the best 30 years that anyone could imagine. (Image: Jeanne Gillisse)

It was never a dull moment with Robert Gillisse. He was the leader of his best friend group which included his wife. That's why his death hurts her more than anyone else.

Gillisse was identified on Saturday as the pilot who died in a plane crash at the Collegedale Municipal Airport. It's the fifth crash in 10 years, killing six people including Gillisse, according to the National Transportation and Safety Board. Now the people who loved him most are trying to figure out life without him.

Gillisse married his wife, Jeanne, more than 30 years ago. He sometimes had to fight her twin sister for her attention.

"Jeanne and I, even when they got married, Bob kinda felt like the third wheel," said Jeanne's sister, Joanne Parent. "We were that close." Along with her son, Chandler, and husband, Scott, Joanne would often travel with her sister and brother-in-law. It's the kind of life Bob loved to live.

"He was an exciting man," said Joanne Parent. "Sometimes it was just 'can we just chill for a sec?'"

As an army veteran for more than 20 years, and a love for the outdoors, chilling out was not something Bob Gillisse did.

"When we came to visit, it wasn't like 'lets sit around',' said Scott Parent. "It was like 'tomorrow, we're gonna go on a trip, and see some kind of falls.'"

One of Gillisse's favorite adventures was building and flying planes. He has a hangar at the Collegedale Airport.

That passion turned tragic on Friday night.

"Joanne got a call from her twin, just like she always does, multiple times a day sometimes," said Scott Parent. "And you can just tell."

That phone call, was Gillisse's wife telling her sister what happened. Jeanne Gillisse has been in pain ever since.

"The hardest part for me is I cant fix it," said Joanne Parent. "I hurt for her and I don't know how to change that."

It's a big change for Gillisse's wife to go on without her favorite person, but family says he gave her the best 30 years that anyone could imagine.

"We come from a big family," Joanne Parent said. "We're gonna help her get through this."

The NTSB and the FAA have an ongoing investigation in Gilisse's case. No word just yet on what went wrong.

Friends of the family started a GoFundMe account for the family. If you want to make a donation, you can access that page by clicking here.

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