LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Margret Walker came to pay her respects to the man that saved her life.
Dr. Taylor Pickett performed a triple-bypass surgery on her a year ago. She is alive because of him.
"I think I wasn't five minutes in his office and I already felt comfortable," Walker said. "He was very special to me."
She's not the only one that feels that way.
Friends gathered in Lufkin on Friday to remember the 52-year-old cardiovascular and thoracic surgeon that died when the plane he was flying went down outside McComb, Miss.
His wife and sister-in-law also died in the crash.
"I had made a number of trips with him and again, I'm no expert, but he sure impressed me," said Memorial Heath System of East Texas CEO Bryant Krenek. "He knew what he was doing, he was a good pilot. Who knows what happened and why it happened? But I don't know."
He remembers when Pickett first came on staff at Memorial Medical Center in 2009.
A doctor had been working on a patient for 24 hours and needed help, so Pickett got in his plane and headed to Lufkin.
"I drove out to the airport and picked him up and of course like I said he was working at the time at a hospital in Houston, so he had on his lab coat and his stethoscope and the wind was blowing and he was just bigger than life getting off his airplane," Krenek said.
Pickett was able to help save the patient. But he was more than a cutting-edge physician.
"Laura and Taylor and their children were well integrated in this community," said Dr. Brent Campbell, a friend of Pickett's. "Well-loved, well-respected and it's a terrible loss and I think it's going to take us quite a while to get over it."
"You're smiling to keep from crying, but both of these feelings are certainly there," Krenek said.
They celebrate the life of a man who touched more than the hearts of his patients.