Ron McManus of North Myrtle Beach, the co-founder and executive director of the Jim Caudle Artificial Reef Foundation and tournament director of the Dixie Chicken Fishing Funament, died Feb. 13 at his home, finally succumbing to a long battle with cancer.
McManus, 70, was a Charlotte, N.C., native whose family made Cherry Grove its second home while he was young. He moved to the Grand Strand after graduating from East Mecklenburg High School and attending Wingate College.
McManus and his wife, Kathy, founded the Jim Caudle Artificial Reef Foundation and began the Jim Caudle Artificial Reef project in 2003 in memory of their friend and fellow fisherman, Jim Caudle. The Dixie Chicken Fishing Funament began as an annual tribute to Caudle and was the primary fundraiser for the Jim Caudle Artificial Reef Foundation. McManus served as the tournament director for the multiple species tournament that was named after Caudle’s boat.
In addition to continually enhancing the Jim Caudle Artificial Reef, the foundation established an endowment for the School of Coastal and Marine Systems Science at Coastal Carolina University in Conway. The $60,000 endowment provides funds to allow students to develop their own ideas and experiments. Research projects to date include sonar mapping of the ocean floor and measuring the effects of large, breaking waves during storms. Marine science students also regularly use the Jim Caudle Artificial Reef for research projects.
McManus is survived by his wife of 49 years, Katharine Chenault McManus; a son, Robert Woodrow McManus of Monroe, NC; a daughter, Margaret Lynnsie McManus of Denver, NC; and four grandchildren, Ann Kendall McManus, Robert Grayson McManus, John Michael McManus, and Matthew Chenault McManus. In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made to the First Presbyterian Church of Myrtle Beach "Building Fund", P.O. Box 1306, Myrtle Beach, SC 29578; The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Donor Services, P.O. Box 4072, Pittsfield, MA 01202; or Coastal Education Foundation, Jim Caudle Endowment Fund, P.O. Box 261954, Conway, SC 29582.