Father, daughter with NC ties killed in plane crash in mountains

A father and daughter will be buried in North Carolina after their plane crashed Friday while they were on a father-daughter trip to ride roller coasters.

Bill Gibbons, 45, graduated from N.C. State University with a degree in aerospace engineering. He later got a PhD from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in Biomedical Engineering. His daughter, Abbey, was a cheerleader at an Indiana high school and dreamed of attending UNC.

Bill and Abbey Gibbons, who were from North Carolina but living in Indiana. (Facebook)
PHOTOS: Bill and Abbey Gibbons

Gibbons, from Goldsboro, shot up the ranks of Cook Medical and moved his family from Winston-Salem to Bloomington, Indiana, in 2009. But Gibbons remained close to North Carolina, and he used his pilot’s license to fly to Goldsboro to visit family and to come to Raleigh for Wolfpack sporting events.

He was also devoted to his son and daughter, who were twins.

Gibbons was with Abbey, 15, when he flew out of Knoxville, Tennessee, on Friday en route to Bloomington. His plane crashed in the Tennessee mountains in rainy weather.

“Bill was on a father-daughter trip with his daughter, Abbey, doing what they loved – riding roller coasters and flying – and he will be laid to rest alongside her in North Carolina,” his obituary said.

Their obituaries ran side by side in Wednesday’s News & Observer.

Abbey Gibbons was a sophomore in high school who was a cheerleader, loved French and hoped to attend Chapel Hill for college.

A memorial will be held Wednesday afternoon in Bloomington.

They will be buried Saturday in Goldsboro at 3 p.m. at Goldsboro Christian Church, with visitation from 1 to 3 p.m.

“Bill loved to fly,” his obituary said. “He traveled the world for his work and it was through this, and his early interest in aerospace engineering, that led him to get his private pilot’s license.

“He loved being in the sky over southern Indiana on a beautiful Saturday afternoon, he loved being able to jump down to North Carolina to see friends and family at a moment’s notice, and he loved taking his family on little get-aways or to watch their beloved N.C. State Wolfpack play ball.”

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