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North Haledon Minister In Plane Crash Known Worldwide For Kindness, Charity

North Haledon pilot and minister Andrew Topp, far right, is remembered for his humanitarian work in Haiti. Photo Credit: Andrew Topp
Andrew Topp of North Haledon lived and died doing good in his purple plane before it crashed in West Milford Wednesday, friends and family say. Photo Credit: Erica Fischer- Kaslander

There was no mistaking the purple plane that went down Wednesday in West Milford for those who knew Andrew Topp.

The minister from North Haledon lived his life "on the edge, challenging barriers, and in search of the wild," as he helped those in need here and abroad, said his daughter, Erica Fischer- Kaslander.

"He impacted the lives of so many and will be remembered across the world for that work," his daughter said.

The owner-operator of A Topp Contracting, Topp was pastor of the First Reformed Church of Boonton for more than two decades and was involved with the Rotary International District 7490.

Shock and grief spread along with the news that Topp's single-engine Piper PA-32 aircraft crashed near what once was the Jungle Habitat theme park after leaving nearby Greenwood Lake Airport around 2:30 p.m. Wednesday.

Topp was remembered for his extensive humanitarian work, particularly in Haiti following the 2010 earthquake that killed thousands.

"God must have needed his MacGyver-like Mr. Fix-It talents closer at hand," said Tom Wells, a friend of 35 years. "Andy will be very missed."

Among those whom Topp helped with both his plane and business was Virginia Edwards -- who, thanks to him was able to spread her father's ashes from the air.

"I will never forget the kindness and love you showed me all your life, including this day when you helped us spread Dad's ashes in your plane," she wrote along with a picture on Topp's Facebook wall. "I'm certain Heaven is a brighter place with your soul in it, and that Dad was there to welcome you!"

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