USF professor remembers 'compassionate, deeply caring' brother - FOX 13 News

USF professor remembers 'compassionate, deeply caring' brother

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TAMPA (FOX 13) -

Everywhere Dr. Mac went, he had a hat on. Around the holidays, it was a Santa hat, but most of the time, it was his typical, white wide-brimmed hat.

His sister says Dr. Mac started wearing hats a few years ago, when she and their other sister joked with him that he was starting to go bald.

Now, the sisters are mourning the death of their brother. Dr. H. Cameron MacManus died Sunday morning after his plane crashed.

"My brother was fun loving, but most of all, compassionate and deeply caring about his patients," Susan MacManus said.

Dr. MacManus is a professor at USF, and is also a political analyst for FOX 13.

She says her brother came down for a week of golf. They spent a lot of time walking the family's property in Pasco County and talking about their childhood.

"Just walking the property and reminiscing about mom and daddy, and all the times we swam in the lake and fished," she said.

Dr. Mac was a family practice physician in rural Pikeville, Tennessee. Susan MacManus says it was a very impoverished area.

Cam MacManus grew up in Pasco County. He played baseball for Pasco High School. He went on to play baseball for Duke.

Susan says her brother always had a love for flying. He got his license back in high school. But college, and then his career and his family took up his time, so he didn't fly very often. Susan says just recently, he became more interested in flying again, and last fall, he decided to buy a plane.

He didn't tell his family until after he got it.

But Susan says her brother was so happy.

"When he bought that plane, we were all thrilled because we were thinking, finally he did something he could enjoy," she said. "We've never seen him happier in his adult life than he's been recently."

Susan says she is only grateful her brother died doing what he loved.

And that she got to spend so much time with him, in his last hours.

"I think so many people don't have the opportunity to spend what turns out to be the last hours of a loved one's life enjoying things that were special in our younger lives," she said.

Dr. Mac took off from Tampa North Aero Park on Sunday morning, during reportedly foggy conditions.

Susan MacManus knew something was wrong when her brother didn't call them after landing. Dr. Mac's wife then called to say, he hadn't come home.

Monday morning, Susan's sister went to Tampa North Aero park to ask if they knew anything. Later Monday, information came that a ping from Dr. Mac's cell phone came from just north of one of their runways.

Keith Carver, who owns the Aero Park, decided to get up in the air.

"Within ten to 15 minutes, I had two airplanes in the air searching where we were advised that the ping came from. And within 20 minutes, we had found the wreckage," Carver said.

Carver says flight plans are not required of pilots in small airplanes. As long as someone at the airport or family or friends know when you leave and when you are expected and what general path you plan to take.

The wreckage was not found for 31 hours after the plane took off.

At first, no one knew the plane was missing. And then no one knew where to look for it, between Pasco County and Tennessee.

Dr. MacManus is grateful it was found as quickly as it was.

She is comforted with the last memory she had of her brother Cam. They had coffee together Sunday morning and then he got up and stood in the doorway.

"He smiled his big smile and said 'see you in a month.' "

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