John Shannon was a Marine Corp veteran and ran an independent law firm in Lakeland for the last 36-years. The 70-year-old was an accomplished pilot, very active with the Citric Center Kiwanis Club, and the President of the Lakeland Republican Club.
On their Facebook page, RCL posted:
Our hearts go out to the family and friends of our organization's president, John Shannon, who died in a small plane crash at Bartow Airport early this morning. John, his two daughters, one son-in-law and a family friend were are all killed during takeoff on their way to spend the day in the Florida Keys. John was looking forward to serving as our president again in 2018, and had already scheduled several of the speakers for our first few meetings of the new year. We are deeply saddened by John's loss, and hope that you will join us in extending your thoughts and prayers to all of the Shannon family's friends, associates and family. Rest in peace, John, you will be greatly missed.
Governor Rick Scott also reacted to the news, tweeting
@FLAnnScott and I are heartbroken to hear of this tragedy. We are praying for the Shannon, Worthington, and Clayton families.
“All of them, everyone who was on that plane was a member here,” said Associate Pastor Andy Ritchie with St. Paul Lutheran Church in Lakeland.
At Christmas Eve mass, the holiday joy was mixed with heartache.
Ritchie fondly talks to FOX 13 News about how Shannon was known for his baking, his kindness and his skills in the courtroom.
“He was always 100 M.P.H, go, go, go, but very positive and very uplifting,” he said.
In 2014, Shannon ran for the Florida House of Representatives. In a campaign ad posted on YouTube he talks about his children. “What I’m most proud of are the daughters that I’ve raised on my own.”
According to Olivia Shannon’s Facebook page, the 24-year-old attended Southeastern University.
26-year-old Victoria Shannon-Worthington lived in Baltimore teaching fourth grade language arts in the city. She was married to Peter Worthington Jr. On his Facebook page, the 27-year old says he was a law student at the University of Maryland. This would have been Peter and Victoria’s first Christmas as a married couple.
Family friend, Krista Clayton was also killed in the crash. The 32-year-old worked at the Jewett School for the Arts in Winter Haven. On the website, Clayton is listed as teaching elementary gifted.
The Lakeland woman leaves behind a husband and their two children, an 18-month-old and a 3-year-old.
“She has a daughter who has some special health concerns,” said Ritchie. “I always just saw her as an extremely loving mom, very much into the day to day in and outs of life.”