Towson pilot killed in helicopter crash recalled for life of adventure

Spilling out from a helicopter door, rose petals and delicate purple and blue flowers rained down on hundreds of mourners who gathered Sunday to remember Towson pilot David E. Jenny Jr.

Jenny, 30, one of three Marylanders killed in a helicopter crash outside Scranton, Pa., on July 27, was celebrated as a Web-savvy entrepreneur who built and raced fast cars, helped bring fugitives to justice as a bounty hunter and turned a passion for flying into a career.

"Dave lived a much fuller life in 30 years than most people would if given 100 years," his brother, Josh Jenny, 27, said as he addressed those gathered for the service. "As we prepare to move forward in Dave's absence, we recall many life lessons he taught us: Leave your dead-end job. Terminate your toxic relationships. Reject mediocrity. Break those rules. Ask more questions. Apologize more often. Forgive even more often. ... And remember to live like Dave."

The cause of the helicopter crash is under investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration. Authorities have not identified who was flying the helicopter at the time of the crash, but David Jenny was the only certified pilot on board.

Also killed were Bernard Michael Kelly, 58, of Ellicott City and his daughter, Leanna Mee Kelly, 27, of Savage; and Carl Robert Woodland, 29, of Lovettsville, Va., and his son, Noah Robert McKain Woodland, 3.

The Kelly and Woodland families have declined to speak publicly. The Jenny family has declined to speak to reporters about the incident.

Authorities have not released information about the purpose of the group's trip, their relationship to one another, where the flight originated or where it was headed. Wreckage was found in Noxen, Pa., outside Scranton.

A preliminary report is expected this week at the earliest.

At Sunday's service, Josh Jenny and his parents, David Sr. and Linda, greeted mourners with hugs and tearful exchanges. The crowd wrapped around Shelly Funeral Home and filled the inside to capacity. About 400 attended the brief ceremony.

Pictures of David Jenny and a model helicopter flanked an urn on a memorial table.

In his eulogy, Josh Jenny told stories of his brother and their childhood adventures, including a time when — even though they had the chickenpox — they were stuffed into snowsuits for a sled dog race with the family's Siberian huskies.

As adults, the brothers had plans to fly across the country, as their grandfather had done 75 years ago, Josh Jenny said.

"I take comfort in knowing instead of seeing him only some days, he will be with me wherever I go," Josh Jenny said.

David Jenny moved to Maryland about five years ago and most recently lived in Towson. He worked with Fort Meade-based Monumental Helicopters, which provides flight instruction, tours and rides, as well as aerial photography services.

He was a 2001 graduate of Palisades High School in Kintersville, Pa., and earned an associate's degree in computer science from Bucks County Community College, according to the Jenny family.

Tears stained Mike Carr's face as he recalled the kinship he felt with David Jenny.

"We all have big, crazy dreams, and I know some of them are just stuff you talk about and it never happens," the Doylestown, Pa., man said. "He just made it happen, and that's the only way it will happen."

Outside the funeral home, after the helicopter flyover, family friend Betsy Cepparulo held a balled-up pink tissue and one of the flowers that had fallen from the sky as she struggled to describe her emotion.

"Dave was a pretty quiet guy, and that was wonderful that they found a way to honor him without words," said Cepparulo, who now lives in Oakland, Calif.

Cepparulo said the number of friends and family who came to the service was overwhelming. 

"Any time someone really young dies, it's both touching and so sad, because so many people are really hurting."

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