Nearly a month after a plane flown by military veteran and former Kettering Medical Center doctor went missing, the Coast Guard on Monday suspended the search, prompting his family to schedule a memorial service.
“It is the hardest thing we have to do, and that is to let a family know that we have suspended a search,” said Petty Officer Sydney Phoenix, a Coast Guard spokeswoman. “Then it is in their hands.”
On Oct. 16, Dr. Steven Schumacher, 63, took off from Cape Giradeau, Missouri, for Gonzales, near Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Phoenix said. However, when he did not show up two hours after he was scheduled to land, his family reported him missing, the Coast Guard said. He was the only person aboard the 1977 Piper Aztec aircraft.
A hangar lease with the Cape Girardeau airport for the plane, whose tail number is N778PA, shows Schumacher signed it out to visit patients.
An online flight tracker showed the plane’s last known position over the Gulf about 11:40 p.m. Oct. 16, about 440 miles past Louisiana’s coast, Phoenix said.
Schumacher’s family has now scheduled a memorial service that will begin with a visitation to be held at 10 a.m. Nov. 18 at the Trinity Episcopal Church in New Orleans, with the memorial service to start at 11 a.m.
He is survived by his mother Leila Flournoy Schumacher, brothers David, Robert and Jerry. Schumacher is preceded in death by his father Carl Schumacher Jr. and his sister, Holly Schumacher Seckel.
Schumacher was a native of New Orleans, and served aboard nuclear submarines in the United States Navy prior to earning a bachelor of science degree at Louisiana State University. He was a graduate of the LSU School of Medicine, where he completed a general surgical residency in 1995 and practiced general surgery in Lafayette, Louisiana. He is a founding medical director of the Level II Trauma Center at the Kettering Medical Center.
He also was Instructor of Surgery for UVA School of Medicine in Rwanda, and a trauma and critical care surgeon at Bayfront Health in St. Petersburg, Florida. Most recently, he taught at University Hospitals in Cleveland and St. Francis Health Care System in Cape Girardeau, Missouri.
Schumacher was an avid pilot, who lived in St. Petersburg, and flew his plane to work surgical shifts at hospitals in Missouri and Ohio.
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