Automotive crash-testing trailblazer Bob Denton and his wife, Sandra, met and died doing what they loved.
The couple's story began more than 50 years ago at a Wayne State University aviation club meeting. They died together April 26 in a Georgia plane crash.
Bob Denton, 76, founded Humanetics Innovations Solutions Inc., which provides many of the crash test dummies used by automakers and safety regulators.
The couple, both licensed pilots, split their time between homes in Michigan and Florida, where they lived in the winter. The crash occurred as they were making their way back to Michigan.
Their single-engine Cessna 177B crashed in a field near Watkinsville, Ga., about 15 miles short of the Barrow County Airport, the Oconee County Sheriff's Office said. The plane was destroyed upon impact, according to authorities, and the National Transportation Safety Board was investigating.
Family members said the couple "lived life to the fullest."
Humanetics, in a statement on its website, described Bob Denton as "a visionary entrepreneur in the crash test sensor and [crash-test dummy] industry for almost 40 years."
Denton founded Robert A. Denton Inc. in Detroit in 1974. He invested his time and energy into understanding impact science and how body measurements could be aligned with the automotive crash test industry to better understand injury and improve safety, the company said.
The company purchased the Ohio crash test dummy maker ASTC in 2000 and created Denton ATD. In 2010, it merged with First Technology Safety Systems to ensure the long-term survival of crash test dummy expertise, the statement said. The company was renamed Humanetics Innovative Solutions Inc. and is based in Farmington Hills, Mich. Bob Denton retired in 2010.