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Laughter and tears at funeral for Union County bus driver

Tim McManus was many things in life: father, son, friend, school bus driver. And, he evidently had intangible wealth - because the parking lot at Matthews Church God was packed to capacity as an overflow crowd filled the Sanctuary to say goodbye to McManus.

"I'm remembering Tim for his goofy sense of humor - who he was" said long time friend Deborah Splawn. "And, it's hard because we're going to miss him. He's such an awesome guy."

The 53-year-old from Indian Trail died Monday afternoon when a garbage truck driver crossed the center line on New Town Road in Wesley Chapel, and slammed head on into McManus' school bus.

No students were aboard the bus. School officials said McManus had just dropped students home.

News of his death reverberated around the county.

"Scared me half to death because I had just pulled in" fellow school bus driver Tamara Bivens told WBTV. She said she attended his funeral to pay her respects. "Tim was a great man. He kept everybody on the lot smiling. He was loud, funny. We're gonna miss him."

Wendy Sanderson said she was at the service because "he was a member of our Church here. Very sweet man. Very gentle spirit - just want to come pay my respects to the family"

Splawn said McManus lived for his family. "He had a heart of gold and he loved his girls. He loved his girls and he loved his grandsons," she said. "He loved the kids on the bus too. I guarantee you if he didn't know their names, he made up a nickname for them."

Friends say it was that "thing" that McManus had - that drew people to him.

"That's the thing about Tim," Splawn told the packed Church. "He could laugh at himself. He could make a complete fool of himself just to see someone smile."

Family and friends watched videos of McManus that had them laughing.

"We're warned over and over in the word of God about the brevity of life," Bishop Rick Brackett of Matthews Church of God said. "About how short life on this earth really is."

Bishop Brackett told the gathering that "death frightens us. Tonight we're forced to talk about death."

He told McManus' family and friends to lean on the foundation of their beliefs. "When you experience this loss, it is such a terrible tragedy, an awful thing that can't be described - so you gotta have faith to be able to get through" Bishop Brackett said.

Those who knew McManus know what they've lost: one of a kind.

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