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IRS employee's family says he was full of life

AUSTIN — The family of a longtime Internal Revenue Service employee killed when a pilot harboring an anti-IRS grudge flew his plane into his office remembered the Vietnam veteran Saturday as a devoted family man who likely would have tried to save his co-workers from the burning building before escaping himself.

"He was full of life. Probably the best teacher I had in my life," Ken Hunter said of his father, 68-year-old Vernon Hunter. The elder Hunter had been missing and presumed dead since Thursday, when software engineer Andrew Joseph Stack III slammed his plane into the Austin building where Hunter worked as a manager for the IRS.

The crash caused a large fireball that destroyed much of the glass building where Hunter's wife, Valerie, also worked as an IRS employee. She was not injured.

Hunter was the only person besides Stack to die in the attack, and authorities officially notified the family that they had identified his remains on Saturday, said Larry McDonald, a family friend.

Standing outside Hunter's house in the Austin suburb of Cedar Park, Ken Hunter said he wanted to tell people about his father after hearing about Stack's life and his anti-tax crusade. He was alarmed by comments from Stack's friends who said he was a good person and Internet postings calling him a hero.

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