Four Bellefonte leaders killed in plane crash, honored 50 years later

Local News


STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (WTAJ) — “The only thing that I really remember is one of my aunts came in, just the door, leaned up against the door, and I just remember her crying and my Mom at that time had just sent Kim and I to our bedrooms until she could explain it to us later,” Brenda Winder, daughter of Gerald Robison, said.

Brenda Winder, was six years old, when her father, a city council member for Bellefonte, was in a plane crash. Robison lost his life along with Bellefonte Mayor Syndey Willar, World War two veteran Robert Dunlap and the pilot of the plane Harold Flick.

“Every little girl dreams of having Daddy walk her down the isle and having the Daddy-daughter dance and watching her go to the prom, and he missed all of that you know, and so did we,” Winder, said.

The men left Bellefonte on September Fourth to fly to Harrisburg. They turned back to Bellefonte to get a plane more capable of dealing with the intense fog. The new plane ended up still not being enough as the heavy fog caused the plane to crash in Port Royal, Juniata County.

Wednesday night families members and local leaders spoke about the four men who lost their lives, the tragedy and what those men stood for.

“All four of the Bellefonte residents who passed 50 years ago today, were in service to their community, and I think that’s one of the real take aways from this,” Steve Dershem, Centre County Commissioner, said.

Four lamposts with a plaque for each man stand in Talleyrand Park, Winder says they reminding people today of what it means to be a community servant.

“I think for the younger generation it is a history lesson, as to why these lights stand here,” Winder, said. “I think people come here, they look at the lights and say, “Oh that’s a plaque, that’s nice”, but they don’t really know that why.”

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