Though some people may have seen Tom Warne and Donald Baker as competitors in the real estate business, Warne says they were close friends and often leaned on each other for advice.
"Commercial real estate business is cyclical," said Warne. "So you have downturns and upturns and whenever things were down, he always had a great spirit, had a smile and all he did was work harder."
Baker, 59, and his wife Dawn Hunter, 55, both died Monday morning after their twin-engine plane crashed while heading from Salt Lake City to Tucson.
The National Transportation and Safety Board arrived at the crash site Tuesday to continue its investigation into what caused the crash. Authorities say the plane, piloted by Baker, may have had mechanical problems and the couple may have attempted to head back to Salt Lake City.
Warne says he was in disbelief when he heard the news, along with the entire Jewish community. Baker was once on the board of the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona.
"He was the key person in building Tucson Hebrew Academy," said Warne.
Warne also says Baker and his business partner George Larsen took over many decaying properties around the city and focused on making Tucson more vibrant.
"He had great vision and he knew what tenants to go for and what tenants to get in our town and he really helped save an awful lot of properties," said Warne adding that it's a shame that Baker's vision was cut short.
"He wanted a lot more to happen and he was willing to work for it," said Warne.
Warne also said he knew Dawn Hunter quite well and attended the couple's wedding in California. He says Hunter owned her own wholesale jewelry business. Warne says the two loved to travel.
Funeral arrangements for the couple have not yet been made.