A man from Cuyahoga Falls, who started a television programming company for seniors serving in retirement and nursing homes across the country, died on Wednesday in a plane crash north of Pittsburgh.
Richard Briggs, 65, the founder of SeniorTV, died when the single-engine Cessna 210 he was piloting crashed near Pine Township, approximately 14 miles north of Pittsburgh.
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According to the Mercer County coroner, Briggs died of blunt trauma after the plane crashed in a wooded area. The plane had mechanical problems before the crash.
An unidentified passenger was rushed to a Youngstown hospital with burns and accidental injuries and was later transferred to a Pittsburgh hospital. Further information about the passenger was not available on Saturday.
WKBN Channel 27 in Youngstown reported that a National Transportation Safety Board official said the plane was scheduled to fly to Akron from Westchester County, New York.
Crews were on site on Saturday, removing the plane from the wooded area where it crashed, WKBN reported. An NTSB official at the station said the plane landed at Clarion County Airport in central western Pennsylvania to fix an oil pressure problem. It crashed 19 minutes after leaving the airport.
Briggs found success with SeniorTV, a company he founded in 1992 to provide cable television programming tailored to the interests of seniors. By 2012, the service was available in 1,400 long-term care centers in 40 states.
That year, SeniorTV moved to its new headquarters on Tallmadge Avenue in Akron after rapid sales growth. The number of employees rose from 25 to 40 as the company saw increased interest in the low-cost SeniorTV service after the Great Recession from 2007 to 2009.
Briggs added a MessageNOW channel, which allowed residents to view menus and see live feeds of church services, and PlaybackNOW, a system that accessed movies on DVDs. It also started offering high-speed internet.
By 2019, SeniorTV had grown to 2,300 long-term care facilities and was sold to Sentrics, a Chicago-based company focused on a variety of services for the elderly. Briggs remained President of the Service and became Executive Vice President at Sentrics.
In 2015, Briggs received the East Central Ohio Pilots Association’s 2015 Meritorious Service Award.
When asked to fill in the man who was to present the award, Briggs began reading the prepared speech and discovered that he was the recipient about a minute after the remark.
He told former Akron Beacon Journal columnist Bob Dyer that ECOPA members played a prank in getting the award winner to praise himself.
“This is a setup!” he said Dyer was his answer when he realized he had been made to introduce himself.
Briggs graduated from Kent State University in 1978.
Friends on social media mourned Briggs, who was described by many as a good man and a great friend. Brigg’s family was not immediately available for comment.
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