LAFAYETTE, La. -- A Louisiana mom and son who were devoted fans of Louisiana State University and were on their way to see the school's football team in the Peach Bowl when they died in a plane crash, will be laid to rest Thursday.
Gretchen D. Vincent, 51; her son Michael Walker Vincent, 15; were on a plane that crashed shortly after takeoff Saturday, killing five of the six people on board.
Most of the five people on the plane who died had connections to a Lafayette-based technology firm, Global Data Systems. Gretchen D. Vincent's husband, Chris Vincent, is the president of Global Data Systems. Ian E. Biggs, 51, was a pilot and aircraft manager for GDS. Robert Vaughn Crisp II, 59 was vice president of business development and field services for the firm. The sole surviving passenger, Stephen Wade Berzas, 37, also worked for the company as its vice president of sales and marketing. Carley McCord, 30, was also a passenger on the plane and died in the crash. She was a well-known sports reporter and the daughter-in-law of the LSU offensive coordinator, Steve Ensminger.
The Vincents will be remembered at a visitation and funeral service at Our Savior's Church in Lafayette, Louisiana. In a nod to the duo's love of the LSU Tigers, guests are being asked to dress in the school's purple and gold colors.
Gretchen was described in an obituary as a woman with a “magnetic personality, a contagious laugh, and a radiant smile.” She was active in various community activities such as the Junior League of Lafayette and the Ascension Episcopal Church where her son was a student. She hosted weekly Bible studies at her house. The Louisiana native had a special place in her heart for her alma mater of LSU and especially its sports teams. She was a season ticket holder for LSU football for most of her life, the obituary said. And she often traveled to LSU sporting events.
Her son Michael Walker Vincent shared her love of all things purple and gold, according to his obituary. The teenager was an excellent student and planned to major in pre-dentistry at LSU as part of his plans to become an orthodontist. He had also dreamed of becoming a pilot and enjoyed going hunting and fishing in Louisiana, the obituary said. He died one day before his 16th birthday.
Funeral services for the other victims are also upcoming. A Catholic funeral Mass will be held for Crisp on Friday in Mamou. A memorial service will be held for Biggs on Saturday in Lafayette. McCord's funeral will be Saturday in Baton Rouge.