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Pilot killed in crash leaves behind six children

The pilot who died in a plane crash near Parkers Prairie on February 20 leaves behind a wife and six children.

Forty-one-year-old Adam Menze of Ottertail was alone in the plane, according to Otter Tail County Sheriff's Office.

"He was a man with an amazing faith, and he was just an all-around amazing man," said his wife, Rhonda Menze, adding that her husband made a positive impression on everyone he met.

Menze said her husband, who owns a mechanical engineering consulting company, was flying home from a business trip to Illinois when the crash happened. She said he started flying in 1992 and they have a grass airstrip near their home, which is kept plowed in the winter.

The Menzes have six children, ages 10 years old to 4 months.

"He will be dearly missed," she said.

A fund for the children's education - called "The Menze Kids Fund" - has been set up at First National Bank of Henning, Ottertail and Battle Lake.

On the night of the crash, Gayle Snook of rural Parkers Prairie man heard what sounded like a crop-spraying plane with engine trouble at about 6:25 p.m., followed by a loud crash.

His property is located off County Highway 40 near Highway 29, about five miles north of Parkers Prairie.

When Snook went out to investigate, he discovered the wreckage of a plane in some trees about 90 yards from his home.

Snook said it appeared the plane had touched down and possibly bounced from a nearby snowy field about 60 yards from his house.

"I was wondering if he [the pilot] wasn't trying to get onto the road because he was having problems with the plane, mechanical problems, but I don't know," said Snook, who reported the badly damaged single-engine propeller plane crash to the Otter Tail County Sheriff's Office.


Forum News Service Reporter Dave Olson contributed to this story.