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Memorial Service For Air Tanker Pilot Who Died Fighting Yosemite Fire To Be Held Tuesday

SAN JOSE (CBS SF) -- A memorial service for the air tanker pilot who died battling a wildfire in Yosemite last week will be held Tuesday in San Jose, Cal Fire officials said.

A celebration of Geoffrey "Craig" Hunt's life, with full "line of duty death" fire service honors is scheduled to take place Tuesday at 10 a.m. at the Church on the Hill located at 500 Sands Drive in San Jose, according to Cal Fire officials.

Hunt, a DynCorp International pilot, died on Oct. 7 when his plane's wing struck a tree while he was battling the Dog Rock fire near Yosemite's Arch Rock, according to a preliminary report by the National Transportation Safety Board.

Hunt, 62, was a 13-year veteran pilot, who flew in the U.S. Navy from 1975-1984 and served in the U.S. Army Reserves for 20 years, according to a Cal Fire memorial page.

Hunt earned a master's degree in business from the University of Southern California and a master's degree in biochemistry from the University of Santa Cruz.

When he wasn't fighting fires, Hunt served as a chemistry teacher at the University of Santa Cruz, Cal Fire officials said.

"We continue to mourn the tragic loss of Craig," said Cal Fire Chief Ken Pimlott in a statement. "We know wildland firefighting is an inherently dangerous job, but Craig made the ultimate sacrifice."

Pimlott said he is looking forward to the final National Transportation Safety Board report to see if Cal Fire can use the findings to mitigate the dangers of the job and "protect the lives of others."

Cal Fire staff said Hunt loved to fly planes but also enjoyed activities such as bird watching, fishing, hiking, golfing and scuba diving.

Hunt's daughter, Sarah Hunt Lauterbach, said in a statement released through Cal Fire, that she was close with her father and that she considered him her best friend.

"My dad died a hero," she said.

Cards can be sent to The Hunt Family c/o CAL FIRE Firefighters Local 2881, 1731 J Street, Ste. 100, Sacramento, CA 95811.

In lieu of flowers donations can be made to the G. Craig Hunt Memorial Fund, Ashville School, 360 Ashville School Road, Ashville, NC 28806

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© Copyright 2014 by CBS San Francisco and Bay City News Service. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed

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