Traverse City Record-Eagle

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October 29, 2009

Plane crash victims remembered

GAYLORD -- Matt Rooyakker heard many things in the wake of an Otsego County plane crash that killed two well-known Gaylord residents, but one stuck in his mind.

"The comment was it always seems that tragedy happens to the good ones," said Rooyakker, president of the Gaylord Chamber of Commerce board, who knew both victims. "I think that speaks volumes."

Dr. Patrick J. McNamara, 52, and Christopher A. Hasty, 32, died when McNamara's two-seat, single-engine airplane crashed in a ditch off I-75 near Vanderbilt at about 6:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Witnesses said the McNamara-piloted aircraft circled I-75 and attempted to land on the highway shortly before it crashed. Federal authorities investigating the crash didn't respond to requests for comment Wednesday or said they couldn't provide information, and local authorities deferred comment to federal officials.

McNamara, a licensed radiologist of 18 years, owned Gaylord radiology facility Image North. Hasty was a part-owner of Total Powersports, a Gaylord ATV and snowmobile dealer. Both were Gaylord natives and familiar faces in the community, friends said.

McNamara was "very giving" with his time and money, Rooyakker said, and famous for his commitment to help others.

"Whether it was the guy cleaning out the garbage cans or the most wealthy guy in town, he didn't care. He liked everybody, and he was nice to everybody," he said. "He was one of the nicest guys you'd ever meet. It's a cliche, but it sums it up pretty well."

McNamara wasn't married and didn't have children, Rooyakker said.

Jeannie Jones, who worked with Hasty for five years at Total Powersports, said he was enthusiastic and "full of energy."

"There's nobody in the world like Chris Hasty, at all," Jones said. "Everybody enjoyed Chris."

Hasty left behind a two-year-old daughter and had a persistent dedication to the business, Jones said.

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