MADISON (WKOW) — Those who knew Tanner Byholm say he was witty, ambitious and dedicated. He died when an experimental plane crashed in Janesville last week.
"He was 25 years old, but he lived a full life of someone who made it to 100 with how much he did in the short period that he was with us," Tess Palmer said.
Palmer met Byholm in 2016 through a friend she knew from high school who was serving in the Marines with Byholm.
"He introduced us because we were both pilots, and [our] friendship kind of took off from there with that common interest," she said.
She said Byholm always wanted to make others laugh and feel comfortable.
"He'd always have little kids up in the cockpit and would convince them to become pilots down the road," she said.
Palmer said news of the crash came as a shock.
"We were just texting a few days before," she said. "A few days later, I got the call that he had been in an accident and, unfortunately, didn't make it. A lot of tears were shed."
But she said the crash does have a silver lining.
"He was doing what he loved, which was flying," she said. "He would just love the adrenaline of everything in life, so the fact that he went out on a plane, I guess kind of gives me peace."
Palmer said she hopes Byholm's death inspires others to continue pursuing their passions.
"I would just like people to take his ambition and dedication and put it towards their everyday life," she said. "I haven't flown for the past year due to COVID, and with Tanner passing, it really kind of sparked me to want to get back into flying and continue that."
Byholm's visitation and funeral will be Friday in Cable, Wisconsin. It's about 40 miles west of his hometown of Glidden in Ashland County.