A prominent builder and businessman in the Cape Fear region has died in a plane crash. Wesley Ward Manning -- who developed properties in Wrightsville and Carolina beaches -- was killed Thursday afternoon near Charlotte. The fifty one year old logged many hours in the sky, flying back and forth between the Cape Fear region and his home in Charlotte. On Thursday afternoon, he took off from pilots ridge air strip on Carolina Beach road. His plane went down around four, near a residential neighborhood in Weddington. "He was a quality builder. He was also an entrepreneur and someone that had vision," said Jeff Stokley, President of the Cape Fear Homebuilders Association. One of his most recent visions was the controversial Park Place high rise project at Carolina Beach, which still hasn't broken ground. Still, local homebuilders say he had their respect.
"He was very well respected in our community and well respected by those that he worked with and built for," Stokley said. Carolina Beach resident Barbara Gargan works in restaurant in Kure Beach, where manning ate the evening before he died. "Actually he came to buy salad dressing to take home to his wife for easter, which he frequently did," said Gargan. Gargan said she got to know Manning well over the past three years. "Oh he was fun loving, always had a story to tell, laughing, a very warm hearted person," she added. "He was very much a part of our building and development community," said Stokley. "We're going to miss his contributions." A memorial service for Manning will be held this coming tuesday at 2 p.m. in Weddington. Investigators say it will be weeks before they can determine the cause of the crash. UPDATE: National Transportation Safety Board investigators say it will be weeks before they can determine the cause of a plane crash that killed prominent developer Manning. A memorial service is planned for Tuesday in Weddington, the town near Charlotte where the crash happened. Manning developed properties in Wrightsville and Carolina Beaches. He was on his way home from Carolina Beach when his plane went down. The memorial service will be held Tuesday afternoon at 2:00.