Local News

Family With Strong Local Ties Killed In Kenya Plane Crash

Posted July 21, 2003

— What was supposed to be a treat for three generations of the Brumley family ended in a fatal plane crash in the African country of Kenya.

Bad weather is keeping crews from the crash site on Mount Kenya, which the family's chartered plane slammed into during a vacation to tour African game reserves.

Many of the victims called the Triangle home. At least seven of them had close ties to Durham and Chapel Hill, and two were students at Durham Academy.

Dr. George Brumley, the 68-year-old family patriarch, planned the trip after the thrill of climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. He taught at Duke University for 19 years and directed the Division of Perinatal Medicine before moving to Atlanta in 1981 and becoming chairman of Emory University's pediatrics department.

Also dead is his wife, Jean, who met Brumley while they were students at Duke in the late 1950s.

Jean roomed with Elizabeth Dole at Duke.

"I was terribly shocked and deeply saddened to hear about the plane crash involving the Brumley family," said Dole, now a North Carolina Senator. "Our families have been intertwined for many years.

"Jean Stanback Brumley was a wonderful human being. I cherished her friendship dearly. Her husband George and their family were caring and giving people who gave so much to the community, and I will miss them immensely."

The couple's son, George Brumley III, lived in Chapel Hill, where he was chairman of Oak Value Capital Management, an investment management firm. He was killed along with his wife, Julia, a Chapel Hill native, and two of their children -- 14-year-old George Brumley IV and 12-year-old Jordan Brumley.

News of the crash spread Monday at Durham Academy, where George Brumley IV and Jordan Brumley attended school. George Brumley IV would have been a ninth-grader, and his sister would have been a sixth-grader.

"It's so hard to talk about," said Ed Costello, headmaster of Durham Academy. "It's hard to imagine that they are really gone. It hasn't really settled in yet. They were such a part of the life of the school.

Costello knew the Brumley children as students and their parents as friends.

"You couldn't have a better family," he said, "loving, caring, involved with their kids, open to others. A model family in almost every way."

In a statement released by Oak Value Capital Management Inc., President David R. Carr Jr., said: "Our relationship with the Brumley family extends back for many, many years, and we are shocked and grief stricken at this incredible tragedy.

"We know all of the individuals involved," Carr said, "and they were wonderful people of character and integrity, with a great tradition of service and philanthropy.

"We are praying for the victims and the surviving members of all the families, and trying hard to pull together with our own families and loved ones to cope with such a tragic loss."

Also on the plane were two daughters of Jean and George Brumley III, their husbands and one of their sons.

Elizabeth Brumley Love and her husband, William Love, met at Duke University and lived in London.

Richard Morrell was an Asheville native before moving to Atlanta. He was married to George and Jean Brumley's daughter Lois. The couple and one son were killed in the crash.


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