Funeral home owner killed in crash carried through streets of city he loved one more time

SOUTH FULTON, Ga. — Family, friends and an entire gathered to honor the life of a beloved funeral home owner.

A horse carriage led the way during Terrance Dortch’s procession in South Fulton after his memorial service at Light of Joy Church in Riverdale.

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Dortch died in a car crash while driving from a toy charity event earlier this month. He was the owner of the Dortch-Williamson Funeral Home.

“A young entrepreneur from the Ponderosa neighborhood, Dortch took the small funeral home to a multimillion-dollar enterprise, giving back to countless local charities and businesses; as well as offering mentorship and job opportunities to formerly incarcerated men from the community,” the city of South Fulton said in a statement Friday.

At 6 foot, 3 inches, 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.

The employees said they smile when they reflect 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.

Dortch is survived by his wife and two children.

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