DALLAS — One of the six men who died in a plane crash at an airshow in Dallas over the weekend lived and worked in Central Texas.
Kevin Michels, 53, was a crewmember on the B-17 Flying Fortress when the two planes crashed on Saturday, Nov. 12.
Michels is originally from the Denver area of Colorado. Loved ones say he graduated from Golden High School in Lakewood, Colorado, in 1987 and was on the wrestling team.
Michels moved to Austin in 2001. Several years later, he moved back to Colorado. But according to his dear friend of 21 years, Scott Reed, Michel’s heart led him back to Central Texas. Michels had recently moved to Leander.
“We just had their going-away party here in Denver a few months ago,” said Reed. “It’s a shame he didn’t get to enjoy Austin a bit more again.”
Michels had come out of retirement when he moved back to the Austin area a few months ago. Applied Materials in Austin confirms Michels was an employee with the company and told KVUE:
“Applied Materials is deeply saddened by the tragic loss of one of our Austin employees and dedicated volunteer of the Commemorative Air Force (CAF) organization, Kevin Michels. Our thoughts are with his family and friends during this difficult time."
Reed and Michels met in 2001 when Reed was in charge of the "Denver Broncos in Austin" club. Michels, a passionate fan of the football team, walked into a bar where Reed was hosting the club looking for a place to watch a game. The rest was history, Reed said.
”As much as I think he’s my best friend in the whole world, almost every guy I know says that about him,” said Reed.
“He was just one of those kinds of people. [Michels] just walked in and started watching with us, yelling at the Broncos with us,” Reed said. “He was always like that with people – big people person.”
Reed said Michels leaves behind a common-law wife, Paula, and her son, Dylan, whom Michels took on as his own. Reed calls Michel a family man who loved the two deeply.
“In my opinion, it’s two of his best accomplishments that he’s done,” Reed said, “taking care of that wonderful woman and helping raise that good kid.”
Michels and Reed shared many close friends but said they lost one of them, George Yudovitz, several years ago. Reed said he is comforted knowing that Michels died not only doing what he loved, but also knowing he is with Yudovitz. They lovingly called him Georgey.
“I’d tell [Michels] to hug Georgy for me. Because I know they’re both in a better place,” Reed said through tears. “I know he’s in a better place.”
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