Ontario philanthropic couple, daughter confirmed as victims in Maine plane crash


Friends say a wealthy Ontario couple and their daughter who died in a small plane crash in Maine were prominent philanthropists who gave their time generously to support the arts, universities and charities in the Niagara region.

Police in Maine confirmed today that Joseph Robertson, 58, and Anita Robertson, 58, and their daughter Laura Robertson, 24, died when the twin-engine propeller Aerostar aircraft crashed into a field near the municipal airport in Greenville, Maine, on Monday.

The Niagara-on-the-Lake family are prominent in St. Catharines, Ont., where they made major financial contributions to a performing arts centre, were active in the United Way and where Joe Robertson served on the board of Brock University.

Brian McMullan, a former mayor of St. Catharines, said he’d been informed the couple were on their way to a family vacation in Charlottetown when the plane crashed.

The 60-year-old described them as “genuine, decent people,” who made a key early donation to the performing arts centre, which has helped revitalize the city’s centre.

Robertson, the pilot, had departed Pembroke, Ont., with his family members at about 9 a.m. and was bound for Charlottetown when the crash occurred about an hour and 45 minutes later.

The National Transportation Safety Agency is looking into the matter and will investigate the probable cause of the accident.

The Canadian Press