CLAYTON COUNTY, Ga. — A community is mourning the sudden loss of a funeral home owner who was beloved and praised for his generosity.
Terrance Dortch died in a car crash while driving from a toy charity event.
The Dortch-Williamson Funeral Home serves families who are grieving a loss. Now workers there are dealing with their own sudden loss of a man who they say was devoted to his family and community.
At 6 foot 3 inches, Terrance Dortch, 42, was a towering figure both in height and dedication to his family, community and employees.
“We would do gas giveaways. He would go to gas stations, put up a poster, meet me at Kroger every year sponsoring families,” Dortch-Williamson Funeral Home employee George Worrell said.
Dortch was driving home from a toy drive charity event, when according to an employee, somehow lost control of his car on Interstate 85 and hit a tractor trailer. He died on the scene.
“It’s one of the toughest pickups we have ever done. Put our boss on a stretcher and put him in our hearse. It’s one of the toughest things we have ever done,” employee Joshua Trotter said.
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“He told us, if anything happens to me, you open the next day, business must continue to go forward,” Worrell said.
And that’s exactly what they did — still meeting the families who’ve lost loved ones, still planning memorial and funeral services.
“Every day we deal with death, grieving people and now in return we are the grievers,” another employee told Channel 2′s Tom Regan.
The employees said they now smile reflecting on some of Dortch’s unorthodox funeral traditions like driving his three-wheel sling shot at the front of funeral processions.
“He got a lot of backlash about the sling shot, but families always requested it, asked for it. It was just a signature. When he came down the street, people loved the sling shot,” employee Frederick McCloud said.
“He gave back to everybody. His number one stand was I’m just a kid from College Park,” Worrell said.
Dortch is survived by his wife and two children. Funeral arrangements are still being made.
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