On Saturday, 85-year-old real estate maven Robert “Bob” Russell Jr, pilot and co-founder of Russell & Jeffcoat Real Estate company in Columbia, died in a fatal plane crash when his aircraft descended into a small lake near the Columbia Metropolitan Airport shortly after takeoff.
A member of the South Carolina Aviation Hall of fame and a U.S. Air Force veteran, Russell—who was reportedly headed to his vacation home in Asheville—reported engine trouble minutes after the plane’s take-off. Officials with the National Transportation Safety Board are leading an investigation into the cause of the plane’s descent.
Russell founded his real estate company in 1965. The company turned 50 this month.