The Passionate Young Couple
John and Joyce (Ewert) Alloway were among the very first students of Trinity Western’s aviation program that began in 1975. It was here they met and fell in love. By all accounts, they were a glowing, happy, passionate couple who married shortly after graduation from Trinity’s Institute of Aviation, on August 27th, 1977.
John, the child of missionaries, believed he had a call to become a bush pilot in Africa. Joyce, equally passionate, was determined to join him. They both received private and commercial pilots licenses, and were preparing for a future in missions by completing a few final exams.
But not even a year after they were married, tragedy struck.
March 16th, 1978
While in the middle of a flight, working on getting their instrument rating hours, the Alloway’s Sencea twin engine collided with a Cessna 172. Although the second plane remained airborne, the Alloway’s plane went down.
John, 23, Joyce, 24, and their instructor Sterling Robert McGonigal, 40, did not survive the crash.
The campus was in shock. No one expected anything like this would happen them. It was a time of deep sorrow. But now, 40 years later, former classmates are banding together to help create something beautiful.
A Legacy for Others
Jay Cooley (’78) was introduced to Trinity Western by instructor McGonigal, and subsequently decided to attend. Cooley met John and Joyce in the aviation program, and they became friends.
Though devastated by the news of their loss, Cooley didn’t let their death keep him from flying. After graduating from the aviation program, he went on to become a pilot for American Airlines, where he’s been for the last thirty-two years.
He’s never once forgotten the Alloways or McGonigal.
In 2017, Jay and his wife Ingrid (Limburg, ‘78) met with Trinity Western to start the process to remember and honour the couple by placing a memorial bench on campus and by creating a scholarship named after them.
The Cooley’s were close with the Alloways while they were students together (Joyce was Ingrid’s dorm mom and a bridesmaid in their wedding). They wanted to create a scholarship both as a way to honour their memory as well as to provide financial aid to other students so they could have an opportunity for Christian based education.
“We wanted to put their name on a scholarship, to remember them,” says Cooley. “They were an outstanding young couple full of life and passion. They were planning to serve on the mission field. We hope this will give someone else in need the opportunity to follow their passion.”
Because there is no current aviation program at Trinity Western, Cooley hopes that this scholarship will go to a student who is either wanting to become a pilot one day, or someone who is passionate about Christian education and making a difference in the world—just like John and Joyce.
The Cooley’s hope to get this scholarship funded by reaching out to their former classmates. The John and Joyce (Ewert) Alloway Memorial Scholarship was created as an annual scholarship and set-up as a self-generating endowment with initial funding of $30,000.
“This is a way for us to help Trinity Western, to remember how the training there helped us become the people (pilots) we are today,” says Cooley.
This scholarship will become a beautiful reminder of a young couples’ love and commitment to education and missions, and will honour the memory of a couple who were prematurely taken from this world.
In this small way, their legacy of love and the history of the aviation program live on.
In addition to the scholarship, a memorial bench will be dedicated to John and Joyce Alloway and placed on campus. The unveiling ceremony will be held at 2PM on August 11th, 2018, in honour of their 40th anniversary.
If you are interested in joining Ingrid and Jay as they remember their friends, please RSVP via email to:
If you would simply like to give towards the John & Joyce (Ewert) Alloway Memorial Scholarship being created in their memory, you can do so online at: https://www.twu.ca/donate-now.