Vista couple killed in plane crash remembered for ‘showing people their passion’

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SAN DIEGO – Family and friends of Tim Gill and Joylani Kamalu are mourning after the married couple died in a small plane crash over the weekend.

Coconino County Sheriffs Office

The were flying to Arizona from Vista, where they lived.

“They were awesome people,” said Angel Gill, Tim’s daughter. “They cared about everyone around them. They were really selfless.”

Their downed aircraft was discovered shortly after 1:30 a.m. Monday in a wooded area in Williams, Arizona, according to a release prepared by Jon Paxton, spokesman for the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office. Gill, 37, and Kamalu, 40, reportedly were headed for the Grand Canyon Airport with an appointment scheduled Sunday morning in the Tusayan area.

At around 6 p.m. Sunday, deputies learned about an overdue aircraft, and a family member told authorities “that the missing parties had not reported for work as scheduled.”

An Arizona Department of Public Safety Air Rescue helicopter spotted the plane, found near the H.A. Clark Memorial Field Airport. Both of the victims were found deceased inside, Paxton said.

The cause of the crash is under investigation.

Gill’s three children said their dad and stepmom loved to fly, sharing their adventures on a YouTube channel, “Tango and Juliet.” They were out celebrating Kamalu’s 40th birthday over the weekend.

“They put every ounce of passion into their work and showing people their passion,” said Nick Gill, one of Tim’s kids.

Gill’s kids live in Idaho and visited the couple fairly often. They say Kamalu called herself their “bonus mom.”

“She did not have the chance to have her own kids, but she loved animals and she really loved us,” Nick Gill said.

And as for their dad, he was a multi-talented man.

“My dad really had a passion for music,” Nick Gill said. “We all three do, and he is a very talented musician. He did swing, jazz and I can also feel the love in his music.”

Musician and friend Jason Fabus said the Southern California music scene is rocked by Gill’s death. He said Gill simply is an irreplaceable musician.

Gill’s booking agent told FOX 5 that Gill was involved in the composition of the music soundtracks to “Queen’s Gambit” and “Mank.”

“He was a master composer, arranger, band leader, singer” Fabus said. “He played guitar. He played banjo in my band. He played trumpet. He just did it all.”

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