CARO, MI — When Jason Kozan introduced himself to people in and around Caro, many times they would ask, “Are you related to Mark?”
That’s because Mark J. Kozan, a Caro business owner killed in an April 19 plane crash in Shiawassee County, went out of his way to do things for others in his community, according to Jason Kozan, his younger brother.
Mark Kozan, 49, was a passenger in Richard Hayward’s single-engine plane when it went down about 2:15 p.m. Saturday, April 19, near the intersection of M-13 and Cronk Road, the Shiawassee County Sheriff’s Department reports.
Both men were killed in the crash.
Related: Vassar pilot killed in Shiawassee County plane crash started flying at young age, retired from U.S. Air Force
Jason Kozan said he remembers his brother would shovel snow for people in need and helped many people with mechanical things or whatever else they needed.
He also loved to fly planes and his helicopter, which he purchased eight or more years ago, Kozan said.
Mark Kozan and Hayward were headed down to the Fowlerville area to pick up the helicopter when the plane crash happened, Jason Kozan said.
Mark Kozan started out flying small planes like Cessnas, Jason Kozan said, and eventually bought the helicopter because he could land without a runway.
“It was a great way to increase getting things done in an efficient manner,” Kozan said. “He was that type of person, he liked to get things done efficiently.”
He spent a lot of time at the airport because that was his passion, Kozan said.
He was born Sept. 16, 1964, in Detroit, the son of James and Nancy Kozan, brother of Michelle (Donald) Salmine and Jason (Julie) Kozan, according to his obituary.
Mark Kozan was not married and did not have children of his own, but he enjoyed spending time with and doing things for his nieces and nephews.
“My boys got to go in the helicopter,” Kozan said, noting the last ride they took was at the end of last summer as the colors of the leaves were changing. “That sparked an interest in flying in my 6-year-old son.”
The family plans to set up a donation fund to create a program that allows young people to try out flying and learning about what it takes to be a pilot.
“Him taking my boys up in the helicopter was a very touching moment for me,” Kozan said.
“He wasn’t the type of person to say, ‘I love you,’ but by his actions, you knew it,” he said. “He didn’t have to say it, you knew it.”
Jason Kozan and other family members were at Mark Kozan’s business, Riverview Auto, 987 Ellington, in Caro, on Tuesday, April 22, working to fulfill obligations and determine what to do next.
Mark Kozan started building the business at the age of 21, his brother said. The business buys and recycles a variety of materials and sells other materials. The business also has a scrapyard, provides custom automotive parts, sells and repairs golf carts and provides a wide variety of services.
“He was trying to keep as many things as possible out of the landfills,” Kozan said.
His business and hobby of flying intersected, as Kozan would often take a plane or his helicopter to pick up a part for a customer out of state or elsewhere in Michigan, his brother said.
Police, firemen, and medical personnel respond to a plane crash where two males were fatally injured on Saturday, April 19, 2014 at the intersection of M13 and Cronk Road on the border of Clayton and Venice Township.
The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating the plane crash.
Witnesses reported hearing the plane’s motor “spitting and sputtering” and the propeller turning slowly, before it made several sharp turns and lowered its landing gear, according to a news release from the Shiawassee County Sheriff’s Department.
It appeared to witnesses the plane was attempting to make an emergency landing when it crashed nose front into a field, the news release reads. The plane was removed from the field around 9 p.m. Saturday and taken to Owosso Community Airport.
The family is planning a private memorial service and will spread Mark Kozan’s ashes during a ceremony outdoors.
Jason Kozan thanked the many people for their support and for the many phone calls, hugs and items dropped off for the family, more evidence of his brother’s popularity in the area and throughout Michigan. The family would like to meet and the people who saw the plane go down and went to help the two men.
Now, a few days after the crash, they are trying to stay positive.
“We’re trying to remember him and all good things he did,” Kozan said about his brother, “and not sit here and fret about he’s gone.”