Longtime Santa Monica aviator, resident and businessman Griffith Hoerner has died.

Hoerner passed away October 24th due to complications from an accident, friends said.

A memorial service and “celebration of life” for Hoerner was held Sunday, November 2nd, at the Barker Hangar in Santa Monica.

Among the family and friends in attendance were Mike Dwyer and Jason Sandoval of Malibu who rescued Hoerner and Mark Walker following a plane crash. These first responders raced to the single-engine plane, which had crashed into the Pacific Ocean near the Malibu pier.

A fly-by of the “missing man formation” was performed by the Condor Squadron, World War II-era planes, from Van Nuys Airport during the memorial service.

Hoerner, owner of Overview Construction and Overview Aerial Photography in Santa Monica, was well known in the aviation world, friends said. He was a certified flight instructor, a member of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, an active member of the Santa Monica Airport Association, Aircraft and Pilots Association and Air Spacers flying club.

He was also an active member of the Experimental Aircraft Association’s Young Eagles pilot program, which introduces children to aviation opportunities and gives them a chance to experience the joys of flight.

The City of Santa Monica will recognize Hoerner with a wall plaque at the Holiday Ice Rink, at Fifth Street and Arizona Avenue

Hoerner was a butterfly rancher, lepidopterist and enthusiast. The Holiday Ice Rink, for which he was the contractor, depicts a light pattern of butterflies gleefully soaring about.

A butterfly preserve or park, which will be dedicated in Hoerner’s name, is also in the works with the City of Santa Monica.

Monarch butterflies are one of many ways Hoerner shared his love of flight, friends said. His office overlooking Santa Monica Airport is also used to grow esclepsia, the plant that caterpillars eat before cocooning and emerging as butterflies. There he taught adults and children the life cycle of the monarch butterfly, one of Hoerner’s passions.

Hoerner is survived by two sons, Alex and Hans; and daughter-in law-Sara.

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