Family and Friends Trying to Come to Grips With Tragic Loss

by Victor Lopez
NewsWest 9

MIDLAND--NewsWest 9 is learning more about the Midland couple who died in the plane crash outside of Alpine. family and friends are still trying to cope with the devastating loss.

NewsWest 9 spoke with several people who knew Richard and Mary Folger, either through the church or their business.

As of Tuesday, a few people didn't know they had been in the accident at all.  But the overwhelming feeling from everyone NewsWest 9 spoke to was they still can't believe they're gone.

"I was very shocked and deeply saddened to learn of their death," Monsignor Larry Droll with the St. Ann's Catholic Church, said.

"I was absolutely stunned," Debi Hughes, Property Manager for Imperial Shopping Center, said.

Richard and Mary Folger started their life together on May 29, 1954. The fact that Mary first saw Richard in church should have been some sort of a sign.  Their parish Priest at St. Ann's Catholic Church spoke of their deep rooted faith.

"Richard and Mary were very members of the parish.  Richard came to mass every day and prayed the rosary faithfully.  Mary was also active in church, attending mass and being a part of the Altar Society," Msgr. Droll said.

The Folgers have been members of St. Ann's Church for several years.  Their children and their grandchildren both attended St. Ann's School.

Richard served in the U.S. Air Force and was stationed in England in the early 1950's.  It was there, he and his wife became interested in art.

They opened Folger Galleries in the 1970's and moved it to Imperial Shopping Center in December 1995.

"Most of our tenants at the shopping center have been here for a number of years, as were the Folgers, so they developed quite a relationship.  He was an icon here.  I think everybody was just crazy about him," Hughes explained.

Richard Folger was known for his outgoing personality and his ability to make a stranger feel like a life long friend, after just a few minutes.

Mary, or "Kit" as she was known, was quite the opposite.  She was not as outgoing as Richard, but had a sweet and caring nature that just drew others to her.

Many NewsWest 9 spoke to asked not to, or were unable to go on camera.  Fellow tenants at Imperial Shopping Center described them as good and quiet people.

Dr. Joe Rhode, a close family friend, says the impact of their deaths will be as great as the positive impact Richard and Mary had on the church and the community.

As they grieve the loss of their friends, their hearts go out to the other victims and families as well.

"We pray for all the families for God's consolation and support during this difficult time," Msgr. Droll said.

"We're really, really sad for them," Hughes said.

The public is invited to attend a viewing and rosary on Wednesday, July 7th, at 7:00 p.m. and the funeral mass on Thursday, July 8th at 10:00 a.m.   Both will take place at St. Ann's Catholic Church in Midland.