When a series of storms and tornadoes blasted through the tri-state area on April 27, 76 people lost their lives during the storm or in the days after due to storm-related events. Three students from Northeast Alabama died in Tuscaloosa, bringing the total deaths to 79 for Southeast Tennessee, Northeast Alabama and Northwest Georgia. Here is a brief glimpse of who those people were, provided by the families and friends who continue to grieve their loss two months after they died.
Christopher Dewayne BlackContributed Photo
Christopher Dewayne Black, 47, died in the tornado along with his wife, Pamela, son, Cody, and daughter, Chelsea. He worked at Hicks Tufting.
Pamela Lynn BlackContributed Photo
Pamela Lynn Hargis Black, 46, was a mail carrier in Ringgold for 10 years.
Cody Dewayne BlackContributed Photo
Cody Dewayne Black, 21, recently had moved back home with his family. He worked as a customer service representative at T-Mobile.
Chelsea Miranda BlackContributed Photo
Chelsea Miranda Black, 16, was texting a friend when the storm hit their Ringgold home. She was a junior at Ringgold High School, a member of the Future Business Leaders of America and attended Welcome Hill Baptist Church.
Jack Warren Estep Jr.Contributed Photo
Jack Warren Estep Jr., 61, owned and operated Jack’s Auto Repair. He was from Oklahoma, but lived in Ringgold for 23 years. He was married, with four children and nine grandchildren.
Holly Lea ReadusContributed Photo
Holly Lea Readus, 26, of Ooltewah, never passed up an opportunity to help a friend or neighbor. She threw birthday parties for her family, making everything from the cake to party favors to costumes. She loved animals, rescuing pets when she could or calling police about injured animals she saw on the road. She leaves behind a husband, 4-year-old daughter, parents and a brother.
Robert Lance “Bobby” Jones, 46, is survived by his wife, Teresa Jones.
Rhea Garrett McClanahan, 86, taught school and served as a principal in several schools before his retirement. He served in the U.S. Marines during World War II, fighting in the Pacific theater. He had two daughters and three grandchildren.
Jerry Douglas WilliamsContributed Photo
Jerry Douglas Williams Sr., 49, had only one son, but was a father figure for his nieces, nephews and other young people in his life. He was a caring, giving and loving man whose passions in life were his family, friends and fishing. He worked at Koch Foods.
Donald Lee “Donnie” Walston, 47, made everyone laugh with his raucous sense of humor. He worked as an equipment operator in the construction field. He leaves behind one son and two brothers.