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Thank you to Zach’s family for working with us to write this tribute.


Zachary William McKillop will be remembered for his love of flying, witty remarks and sarcastic comebacks, and for never forgetting anyone’s birthday – along with having an enviable knack for always finding the perfect present.

Born on January 30, 1991, Zach left this world far too soon when he passed away in a plane crash on his 28th birthday.

He was raised in Garson, Ontario, just outside of Sudbury, attending Robert Jack Public School, Northeastern Elementary School, and Lasalle Secondary School.

After high school Zach went on to Carleton University, where he graduated with degrees in math and computer science.

He then attended flight school in Sault Ste Marie – it had been his goal to become a commercial pilot.

His family said a portion of the funds raised in a GoFundMe campaign started by his friends will go toward creating a bursary for future students of Sault College’s School of Aviation.

“Zachary had a passion and an absolute love for flying and we would like to continue his legacy by helping future pilots who have the same dream,” his sister, Lindsay St Catherines, wrote to Cabin Radio.

“As a child he was this sweet, gentle boy, and as an adult he turned into this charismatic, adventurous man,” an obituary for Zach read.

He was also proud to be a torchbearer in Sudbury leading up to the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.

Zachary McKillop at the Northwest Territories border sign. Submitted photo.
Zachary McKillop at the Northwest Territories border sign. Submitted photo.

For the past three years, Zach worked for Air Tindi in Yellowknife.

He had started as a dispatcher with the company in 2016, working his way up to become a first officer on the King Air 200.

He was co-piloting a King Air charter plane when it went down between Yellowknife and Whatì.

Friends and family say Zach loved the North.

He was a big fan of snowshoeing, hiking, camping, kayaking, and beach volleyball.

“Those who had the pleasure to know Zach will tell you that he loved music, always had a witty comeback and regularly spent time outdoors ‘splorin,” reads his GoFundMe page.

The same page describes him as charismatic, kind, adventurous, “full of life and love,” thoughtful, generous, and like his sister said, sarcastic.

“Zach, we hope you finally found your way to the pub,” wrote his friends.

He was the beloved son of Janice (nee Joyce) McKillop (Mark) of Sudbury, and cherished big brother of Lindsay (Jordan) St Catharines.

Zach was predeceased by his father, Michael McKillop, in 2010, and their family says they are enjoying beers and baseball together in heaven.

Zach McKillop with his father, Michael, who passed away in 2010. Submitted photo.
Zach McKillop with his father, Michael, who passed away in 2010. Submitted photo.

He was the treasured grandson of Dorothy (nee Baby) McKillop (Dave predeceased), and George and Arlene (nee Condie) Joyce.

He will be sadly missed by uncles and aunts Mark (Pauline) and Paul (Linda) McKillop, Cameron and Fran Joyce, Cambridge, and cousins Andrew, Kevin, and Heather McKillop, Rebecca Hamill (Curtis), Tracy Joyce (Adam) and Justin Joyce.

Zach McKillop in an undated photo. Submitted photo.
Zach McKillop in an undated photo. Submitted photo.
Zach McKillop graduated from Sault College's School of Aviation. Submitted photo.
Zach McKillop graduated from Sault College’s School of Aviation. Submitted photo.
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