Pilot in Buffalo crash was from Pasco County

The pilot of the commuter plane that crashed near Buffalo, N.Y., last night lived in Lutz.

Marvin Dean Renslow, 47, was among the crew on Continental Connection Flight 3407, a twin turboprop aircraft. On his pilot's license, his address is listed as 1611 Glen Oak Lane. He is married to Sandy Renslow, a media specialist at Pine View Elementary in Land O' Lakes. She was not at the school today.

At a news conference this afternoon, Alan Burner, associate pastor of education and evangelism at First Baptist Church of Lutz where Renslow worshipped, called Renslow a "loving husband" and "loving father."

"They returned that love to him,'' Burner said of Renslow's family. "His love to them continues. Their love for him continues. They know that he did everything he could to save as many lives as he could, even in the accident.

"He was doing what he loved to do. He was living his dream," Burner said. The family wants people to know that "their faith, their trust, their hope is in the Lord, the one true and living God. That they know through their faith that life does not end on this earth. The life continues as believers with God in heaven. They know that Marvin's physical life has ended. His eternal life has just begun."

At the Renslows' Lutz home, there were cars parked outside and a sign on the door that said, "Family and friends only. No reporters."

A neighbor, Doug Norton, says the family has lived in the house more than 12 years. He said they have a son who goes to Land O'Lakes High and a younger daughter.

Other neighbors told a reporter that the family had asked them not to make any comments.

The plane was preparing to land when it nose-dived into a house in suburban Buffalo around 10:20 p.m. Thursday. The explosion killed all 49 people aboard and a person in the home, according to the Associated Press.

Newsday is reporting that Ranslow joined the airline in September 2005 and had flown 3,379 hours with the carrier, according the parent company of Colgan Air, which was operating the flight.

Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Roland Herwig said Renslow had no prior accidents or incidents as part of his flying record.

Also killed in the crash was a retired Marine with longtime ties to the Tampa Bay area, said his ex-wife Shari Ingram.

Clay Yarber, 62, was confirmed dead to family members this morning by Continental Airlines, said Ingram, who heard the news at 1 a.m. and hasn't slept since. Ingram, who lives in Largo, and Yarber had a 22-year-old son, Chris, whom Yarber lived with in California.

"It was mixed up, because at first they said no, he wasn't on the connecting flight," Ingram said of airline officials. "Then they called back and said he was."

Yarber was heading to New York to visit a female friend, Ingram said. Ingram, 57, knows the female friend and talked to her this morning, and the friend said she was waiting at the Buffalo Niagara International Airport when the plane went down. Ingram and her son immediately called the airline.

A 28-year-old daughter, Nicole Yarber, lives in St. Petersburg and was distraught over her loss. Nicole's mother, Michele Karatsis, married Yarber when Nicole was a teenager and he adopted Nicole.

"He was very good to me, and very supportive," Nicole said. "We hung out frequently until he went to California."

She was angry with Continental this morning after trying for several hours to find out if her father was on the plane. She eventually heard from a family friend who called the airline and got confirmation, she said.

Clay Yarber, who grew up in Dayton, Ohio, lived in the Tampa Bay area from 1978 until a year ago, when he moved to California. He came to Florida with Ingram, to whom he was married for four years, to join what Ingram said was a thriving local music scene in Tampa Bay during the 1970s. He played guitar and sang with local doo-wop, blues and Elvis impersonator bands. The distinctive, 6-foot-4 musician also performed often at the Ringside Cafe and other local venues in his bands, Power Play and Taxi.

He was a decorated Vietnam vet who had two Purple Hearts, among other awards for his service, his daughter said.

Yarber was married six times, and in addition to Nicole and Chris and another son Rick, he has three daughters who live in Ohio. His mother, brother and three sisters also live in Ohio.

"You couldn't live with him, couldn't live without him," Ingram said. "But he had a heart of gold."

One of Yarber's friends and former bandmates, Bobby Barnes, said Yarber was an extremely talented musician with a weight on his shoulders after his time in Vietnam.

"He was one of the heroes in town as far as the music world goes," Barnes said. "He was a great daddy and a great picker and a great man."

Ingram said she is flying out to see her son in California today, plans she has had for months. She recently talked to Yarber and the two laughed over her flying on Friday the 13th.

"Now I'm scared to death to get on a plane," she said. "I was supposed to see him for a day when he flew back to California. That's not going to happen now."

Times staff writer Camille C. Spencer contributed to this report. Emily Nipps can be reached at nipps@sptimes.com or (727) 893-8452.

Pilot in Buffalo crash was from Pasco County 02/13/09 [Last modified: Thursday, May 14, 2009 10:49am]

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