Friends mourn loss of Middleburg veteran killed in plane crash

Paul Deep, 70, was killed when his plane went down in Paulding County, Georgia

By Elizabeth Campbell - Reporter

MIDDLEBURG, Fla. - Friends and family are mourning a Middleburg grandfather and Vietnam veteran who was killed in a plane crash over the weekend in north Georgia.

Paul Deep was flying the single-engine Piper aircraft from Gainesville Regional Airport to Tom B. David Field in Calhoun, Georgia, when the plane went down in Cartersville, not far from his destination.

Though it’s unclear why the plane crashed, the National Transportation Safety Board is investigating what led up to the incident.

Deep, 70, was often found at the American Legion Post 250 in Middleburg, where he served as the canteen manager and enjoyed spending time with friends.

Post Commander Richard Rowe, one of Deep’s friends, said one of the 70-year-old’s passions was flying the Piper PA-28 plane he co-owned and kept at a hangar in Gainesville.

“Paul was a very good flier – a good pilot, very conscientious, didn’t take chances, did everything by the book – so it’s a mystery to me,” said Rowe of Saturday’s crash.

The plane crashed in Paulding County, Georgia, where Deep was planning to visit his grandchildren and family, Rowe said. He said Deep loved taking employees and friends out on the plane.

“He’s everybody’s friend,” he said. “I traveled to various places for him on business. I don’t care where we went, there was somebody that knew him.”

On Monday, a chair rested against the bar inside Post 250 near Paul’s favorite drink and a lit candle, in memory of the man co-workers and fellow veterans came to know and love.

“He was a person I could go to if I needed to talk to somebody,” said Rowe. “He would sit in my office and we would talk. I don’t know what else to say. I’m going to miss him; the whole Post is.”

Deep, who’s originally from upstate New York, served more than 20 years in the Navy, including in Vietnam. He’s set to be buried at Florida National Cemetery in Bushnell.

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