ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (WIVB) — Several prominent western New York leaders are mourning the loss of two men known for building up and bettering Buffalo and Orchard Park.

On Thursday night, business owners and Orchard Park residents Mark Croce and Michael Capriotto were killed in a plane crash near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

Michael Capriotto (left, courtesy of the Orchard Park Bee) and Mark Croce (right)

MORE | Prominent business owners Mark Croce, Michael Capriotto killed in PA helicopter crash

Croce is remembered for his well-known presence in Buffalo’s resurgence, and Capriotto was known for his devotion to Orchard Park, being called a “pillar of the community” by Mayor Jo Ann Litwin Clinton.

Here are several other reactions to the men’s deaths:

“Mark’s pioneering and continued development in the Chippewa neighborhood led to the rebirth of Chippewa as a vital urban district in the heart of Buffalo. His vision, passion and leadership will be dearly missed. 

We offer our deepest condolences to his family, many friends and hundreds of dedicated employees who he cared for greatly.”

Chippewa Alliance

“It is with profound sadness that the Buffalo Public Schools notes the passing of Mr. Mark Croce.  Mr. Croce was a champion of authentic access and opportunity for our students, particularly in the hallmark culinary and hospitality industries of the Buffalo region.  He believed that our students should be engaged at the epicenter of Buffalo’s rising economy and workforce.  The Buffalo Public Schools extends our deepest condolences to Mr. Croce’s family and loved ones.  He will be missed by all of us.”

Buffalo Public Schools

“Buffalo Development Corporation and affiliated companies want to thank all of those who have reached out with condolences, thoughts and prayers for the family of Mark Croce.

Mr. Croce’s family and the companies wish to express their deepest sympathy to the family of his passenger. A family who we will not name here to protect their privacy during this very difficult time, but whose loss is very great.

Currently, we have no information as to whether the cause of the accident was a mechanical failure, weather conditions or something else. We understand that there is an ongoing FAA and NTSB investigation that will address that question.

Questions are being asked about the future of the companies that Mr. Croce created over the last three decades and the hundreds of employees in his hospitality and development businesses. We want to assure the employees and the public that the businesses will continue without interruption.

We will be prepared at the appropriate time to have a more in-depth discussion of Mr. Croce’s life, what it meant to Buffalo and the future of his companies.

Currently, all we ask is for a period of bereavement to respect the family and allow them to process their grief in this very difficult time.”

Buffalo Development Corporation

“I am deeply saddened by the sudden and tragic passing of my dear friend Mark Croce. As owner of the Buffalo Chophouse, the Curtiss Hotel and Statler City, Mark was a big part of our downtown resurgence, adding jobs for residents and creating destinations that have brought many visitors to the City of Buffalo. His presence will be sorely missed. Please join me in sending prayers of comfort to his family and many friends.”

Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown

“I am shocked and deeply saddened to hear of the death of my dear friend, Mark Croce and his travelling companion Michael Capriotto. In addition to being a friend, as a businessman Mark was a key player in the renaissance of Buffalo. His businesses and contributions to bringing back this city are impossible to measure. What may be even harder to measure are the kind and generous things he did for the people of this city that were done without publicity. My heart goes out to his wife, Jessica, their sons, and the entire Croce and Capriotto families. His friendship and his presence will be sorely missed.”

NYS Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes

“Mark Croce was a significant partner with my administration in the transformation and revitalization of downtown Buffalo.  

He was a pioneer who saw the great potential of our city, recognizing and embracing the rich, historic fabric and character of downtown, its buildings and businesses. He invested his own money in projects and in people, leading to Buffalo’s renaissance which continues today.

His great passion and love for Buffalo was only exceeded by his love and devotion to his family.

Kate and I offer our deepest condolences to Mark’s wife, Jessica and their children, and to the family of Michael Capriotto.”

Former Buffalo Mayor Anthony Masiello