Ryan Michael Willis was one of two men who died in a small plane crash in Descanso overnight Wednesday.
Willis, who was flying with 15-year-veteran pilot David Alan Derby, 77, was a pilot himself, as well as a commercial diver, “but of all the hats Ryan Willis wore, nothing was more important to him than being a husband and a father,” his wife, Krista, said in a statement.
Willis was 36 years old and had a two-year-old son, Hank.
Krista Willis also called her husband an “adventure enthusiast, traveler, loyal friend, dedicated son, [and] humble talent.”
The plane left from Gillespie Field in El Cajon on Wednesday but did not return that evening as expected.
Hours after the plane failed to return, a plane making a steep descent was spotted via radar by the California Governor's Office of Emergency Services.
“Words cannot express the amount of heartache and grief felt,” she added.
The family is asking all donations be directed to their Go Fund Me page to support his wife and son.