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Friends mourn after Fort Worth family's fatal plane crash

Friends on Sunday mourned the deaths of John Newman and Cyndy Newman and their son, J.W. Newman, after their single-engine plane crashed Saturday in rural Kaufman County.

Arthur Akridge, who said he had been a friend of the Newmans since the early 1990s, said they had a teenage daughter who was not on the plane. She will live with her grandmother, he said.

The Newmans had just left a dinner party Saturday that Akridge and his wife, Connie, were hosting for their airplane club. Thirteen members were present, about half of the club's membership, and they are all saddened by this loss, he said.

The plane, a Piper PA-22, crashed shortly after departing Connie's Aviation, a private airstrip in Kemp, a Federal Aviation Administration spokesman said Saturday. The incident was reported at 3:40 p.m., he said.

No additional information about the crash was available Sunday. An FAA spokesman said that the National Transportation Safety Board should have a report Monday.

John Newman worked for Lockheed Martin as an aeronautical engineer, and he loved to fly, Arthur Akridge said.

"They were just a wonderful family," he said.

Samantha Smith, 19, of Arlington said she was a friend of J.W. Newman's, whom she called John. She went to school with him at Nolan Catholic High School in Fort Worth and at the University of Texas at Arlington.

"Everyone that knew him loved him. You couldn't help it," she said. "There was nothing bad about John Newman."

Felicia Stasny, 19, and a sophomore at UTA, said J.W. Newman was also 19.

She said he always showed interest in anyone who talked to him, listening closely to what was said. He was also dedicated to school and liked rebuilding cars as a hobby, she said.

"He was such a good person at heart, which is a good reflection of his family," she said. "They are genuinely good people."