Todd Tompkins will be remembered for many things as an experienced pilot, a great dad and loving husband.
But most importantly, he was a great skier, said his daughter, Paige, who shares her dads passion for downhill skiing.
The 10-year-old and her sister, Phoebe, 16, shared memories of their dad at a memorial service Wednesday for Tompkins, 48, and co-pilot, Ron Chambless, 40.
Chambless and Tompkins died June 3 when their tanker plane crashed as they were preparing for a retardant drop while fighting the lightning-caused White Rock Fire near the Nevada-Utah border.
The two Boise men were the years first fatalities among personnel fighting wildland fires on federal land.
The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating why the Lockheed P2V-7 crashed into forested mountain terrain.
Tompkins daughters recalled little things from daily life with their dad from the way he said totally to his famous grilled ham-and-cheese sandwiches to his patience in teaching Phoebe to drive a stick shift.
We were so blessed to have a father that took such good care of us, Phoebe said.
A standing-room-only crowd of more than 300 packed the Linen Building in Downtown Boise for the service, which was preceded by a procession of fire- fighting vehicles.
The Bureau of Land Management National Fire Honor Guard was joined by members of other honor guards, including the U.S. Forest Service, National Park Service and Boise Fire Department.
Larry Zajanc, who knew both Chambless and Tompkins, officiated the service. He told mourners that he had lost his own daughter, a firefighter, in a helicopter crash in 2006.
Many from Chambless family traveled from Texas to be at the service. His little sister, Jennifer Chambless Conner of Fort Worth, Texas, read a letter that she had written to him.
I still cant believe that you are gone, she read.
She talked about her brothers love of flying at a very young age, despite flying sickness. She recalled a computer geek who was on the Internet before the Internet was invented.
She regretted that she hadnt kept in closer touch with her brother, whom she described as a nomad who loved traveling and photography. Since his death, she said shed learned new things about him.
I never knew you were into skinny dipping in hot springs, she said, eliciting loud laughter.
A photo of his bare behind that circulated on Facebook is now etched in her memory, she said, adding, I now know that you had a better butt than me.
Other speakers included Tom Harbour, director of Fire & Aviation for the U.S. Forest Service and Tim Murphy, assistant director for Fire & Aviation for the BLM. Both expressed regret and sorrow for the families losses and presented them with letters of condolence from President Barack Obama.
Both men worked for Montana-based Neptune Aviation. Co. President Daniel Snyder said they laid down their lives for a noble cause.
Todd and Ron were part of the Neptune family, and we will remember them every single day, Snyde said.
A funeral service was held Sunday for Chambless in his hometown of Wichita Falls, Texas. A service for Tompkins will be Saturday at Alpental Ski Lodge, near Snoqualmie Pass in Washington.
Katy Moeller: 377-6413