AHWATUKEE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -- A couple from Ahwatukee are two of the 34 people presumed dead in the California boat fire.

Their loved ones tell us they always went on adventures, traveling the globe.

[WATCH: Neighbor talks about Awatukee couple presumed dead after California dive-boat fire]

Neal Baltz and Patricia Beitzinger lived in a close-knit cul-de-sac.

"I don't think they're TV people," Jack Belt, a neighbor of the couple. "I think they like to travel, save their money, go to exotic places and be outdoors."

Belt said he's known Baltz and Beitzinger for over three years.

[ORIGINAL STORY: Officials say 34 presumed dead after fire on scuba diving boat, search suspended]

Baltz's father tells us his son and his son's girlfriend of about eight years are presumed dead, and that the FBI told him they are still waiting for DNA results to confirm his son's death.

He also said Baltz's younger brother also bought a ticket to go on the boat but had to cancel at the last minute because of work.

We're told Baltz was an electrical engineer who lived in Phoenix for ten years.

"When I heard it last night on the 6 o' clock news, I was concerned at that point," Belt said. "Then this morning, it got more concerning. And then it got worse in the afternoon."

Belt said their neighborhood won't be the same.

"Usually when we get together, they talk about vacations, where they've been or where they're going to go," said Belt. And it's usually hiking a mountain in Europe or diving," Belt said.

[WATCH: Friend talks about Ahwatukee couple presumed dead in California boat fire]

Though Baltz worked full-time in Phoenix, he had a passion for wine-making. He was enrolled in viticulture (grape-growing) and oenology (the study of wines) classes at the Southwest Wine Center at Yavapai College in Clarkdale. Baltz made the 2-hour drive north for his classes multiple times a week. Valerie Wood and her husband Daniel befriended Baltz just as they finished the program and he started it.

“Neal lived in the present. And he was a passionate, caring, giving, generous friend," Valerie said.

She recounted how Neal was a great storyteller, especially when it came to the adventures he and Patricia went on. He also often took wine with him on those trips.

“That’s just the kind of guy he was. He was out there in the middle of nowhere on a raft, and he’s holding up a bottle of our wine, showing him and his friends. Ya know, he brought us with him,” she said. “[He was] very friendly, very kind, very generous. Who wouldn’t want to be around him? He was always a joy to be around. We loved him."

Perhaps one of the most lasting legacies at the Southwest Wine Center is Baltz’s generosity. He sponsored a scholarship so other students could follow in his footsteps. As such, his name plaque is going to be added to the Founders’ Wall soon.

Award-winning journalist Lindsey Reiser is a regular contributor in the evenings on CBS 5 News at 10 p.m.
 
 


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