Pilot with local ties dies in Iowa plane crash

Published 3:40 pm Monday, February 15, 2010

A former resident of Columbiana with Clanton roots died in a plane crash near Forest City, Iowa on Friday.

Tommy Shelton of Destin, Fla. was piloting the plane when it went down south of Forest City shortly after 2 p.m. There were no passengers on board.

Shelton was the son of the late Russ and Margie Shelton, who owned and operated Shelton Motors — a Buick, Pontiac and Oldsmobile dealership — in Clanton for many years.

He was the former pastor of the River of Life Church in Columbiana and later Maranatha Church. Shelton reportedly left the area about four years ago after retiring from the ministry.

As an employee of Mayes Aviation of Orange Beach, Shelton had been regularly shuttling Waldorf College officials between Alabama and Iowa. Waldorf College, located in Forest City, Iowa, was recently purchased by Alabama-based Mayes Education, Inc.

The plane, a Cheyenne II, was leased to Waldorf and Columbia Southern University (of Orange Beach) and was entering Forest City to pick up employees.

The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating the crash.

Shelton is survived by a son, Tommy; two daughters, Michelle and Susan; and his wife, Gail.