Local News

Friends, Tears Fill Church At Memorial Service For Chapel Hill Family

Posted July 25, 2003 1:46 a.m. EDT

— A Chapel Hill church held a memorial service Thursday afternoon for four congregation members killed with their family when their plane crashed on an African mountainside.

Thursday's service at University Presbyterian Church was held in honor of George Brumley III, 42; his wife, Julia, 42; and their two children -- 14-year-old George IV and 12-year-old Jordan.

The Chapel Hill family, eight other members of the extended Brumley family -- including George III's parents -- and two pilots were killed when their charter plane crashed Saturday into a peak at Mount Kenya.

There were no caskets Thursday, just hugs, memories and tears. About 1,000 friends and families crowded into the church to pay their respects to a family with strong ties to the community.

Caroline Buse remembered her best friend, Jordan, with a flower.

"I have this flower just in case there's some place I can put it for Jordan," Buse said.

Buse described Jordan as fun, caring and lively. Buse also had a grown-up way of coping with her loss.

"I've been trying to just live my life and remember Jordan and the good times," she said.

That was the theme of the memorial. It was a sad day, but for the people who knew the Brumleys, it also was a celebration of their lives.

"Today is a day to remember the great contributions they made to this community," family spokesman Jim Tsokanos said.

A service is also planned Saturday in Atlanta for Dr. George Brumley, the 68-year-old family patriarch; his wife, Jean, 67; and the other family members killed in the crash. More than 3,000 people are expected to attend.

Dr. George Brumley 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.

Jean Brumley was the college roommate and lifelong friend of Sen. Elizabeth Dole, R-N.C.

Pathologists in Kenya have begun DNA analysis to identify the remains of the victims killed. Recovery workers collected more remains Wednesday, which were flown to Nairobi.

The Kenyans will work with U.S. pathologists to identify the bodies before returning the remains to the United States.