Phoenix couple killed in plane crash in Canada

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

PHOENIX -- A Phoenix doctor and his wife were killed when their plane crashed in Ontario late last week.

Dr. Jim Beauchene, a well-known hand surgeon in Phoenix since 1987, and his wife, Brenda, were on their way to a tourist camp they owned north of Red Lake, which is a popular location for summer sports fishing and fall hunting. The couple reportedly planned to run a fly-in fishing camp full-time after Beauchene retired from medicine.

The Beauchenes' floatplane crashed in a lake during or shortly after takeoff Thursday evening. The couple's bodies were not recovered until Saturday.

"He was a great man -- a mentor, a colleague, a partner, a friend," said John Shaff, Beauchene's physician assistant at Arizona Hand & Wrist Specialists for the past six years. Shaff and Beauchene were recently named the Physician-PA Partnership of the Year by the Arizona State Association of Physician Assistants.

"That tells you what kind of doctor, what kind of man he was," Shaff continued. "It's a huge loss for the family and the medical community here in town. ... He left his mark on everyone he worked with, as well as his patients."

Jim, 59, and Brenda, 58, grew up in Canada before moving to Arizona.

By all accounts, the couple was adored by all who knew them.

"Brenda was the nicest, most caring and loving friend, wife and mother to their children," Shaff posted on Facebook with a picture of the couple at his wedding.


Beauchene was an avid pilot, and, according to Shaff, loved flying almost as much as he loved working with his patients. It's a love that apparently runs in the family. Beauchene's father was a pilot, as is his son.

"He died doing something he loved with the woman he loved," Shaff said. "Neither one of them could have survived without the other. She would have followed him to the ends of the earth."

The Beauchenes are survived by twin daughters, both of whom are doctors, and a son, who will soon graduate from law school. One of Beauchenes' daughters is getting married at the end of the month; the other just got engaged.

"It is truly wonderful to hear how my parents touched all of you in such significant ways," Mark Beauchene wrote on Facebook, thanking people for their support and prayers. "They will be deeply missed but will forever live on in our hearts and our lives."

At this point, it's not clear what caused the couple's floatplane to go down. The Ontario Provincial Police and the Transport Safety Board of Canada are continuing to investigate the crash.