Precious Lives: Alabama

Precious Lives: Alabama

June 26th, 2011 in News

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.


Chelsie Boatner Black

Chelsie Boatner Black, 20, leaves behind her husband and daughter, as well as other family members. She was a graduate of North Sand Mountain High School and a member of Ider Holiness Church.

Linda Sue Boatner

Linda Sue Boatner, 67, died with her 20-year-old granddaughter, Chelsie Black. She was a member of Ider Holiness Church.

Gene Bullock

Gene Bullock, 65, grew up in Rainsville, Ala., but moved to Texas for many years, where he was an oil rig supervisor, and worked overseas in Africa before he came back home. After returning to Rainsville, he ran into his grade school sweetheart, Marcella. The couple died together. Family members said that was a blessing because it would have been difficult for them to live without each other.

Marcella Bullock

Marcella Bullock, 64, loved to cook and was known for her salmon patties. She worked at Walmart and volunteered at the county library in Fort Payne, Ala. She was married to her childhood sweetheart, Gene, for nine years. The couple died together when their mobile home was blown to pieces.

Tawnya Ferguson

Tawnya Ferguson, 33, was a mother of two. She loved her two kids, 6-year-old Emma, who died in the storm, and 10-year-old Bryce, who survived with injuries.

Hannah Goins

Hannah Goins, 3, was a loving child with a big heart. She is survived by her parents, a brother, sister, grandparents and great-grandparents.

Kenneth Graham

Kenneth "Buddy" Graham, 56, loved the Lord, music, nature, a good laugh and believed in the Bible. He died with his wife of 35 years, Linda. The couple usually spent their evenings fishing or relaxing outside. They leave behind two daughters and two grandchildren.

Linda M. Graham

Linda M. Graham, 62, played the piano every Sunday at church and enjoyed spending time with her grandchildren. She died with her husband, Buddy.

Violet Hairston

Violet Hairston was a 90-year-old mother of four who walked two miles a day, mowed her own yard and drove her own car until she died in the April 27 storm. She had the prettiest flower garden around, according to her son, Howard Hairston.

Harold Harcrow

Harold Harcrow, 74, was a builder. He and his ex-wife, Patricia Harcrow, built a family of four together. Harold Harcrow worked a demanding construction job and ultimately settled in his parents' home about a mile from his ex-wife

Patricia Anne Harcrow

Patricia Anne Harcrow, 75, was nothing if not a hard worker. The mother of four raised a family mostly by herself, and when she retired from her Johnson Hosiery Mill job she spent her days volunteering at her local church helping the sick and injured

Jody Huizenga

Jody Huizenga, 28, was a homemaker, wife and mother to her three daughters and one stepdaughter. She was a 2000 graduate of Sulligent High School.

Jimmy Kilgore

Jimmy Mikel "Mike" Kilgore, 48, was a quadriplegic who never let his handicap get him down. He had recently outfitted a truck so he could operate it and started an asphalt business. He died while trying to get a tarp to cover his mother's house after a storm tore the roof off her house. He was hit by the tornado on his way to the hardware store. He leaves behind his wife of 16 months, Concordia Kilgore.

Ida Jessie Ott

Ida Jessie Ott, 87, was a retired accountant from Atioch, Calif., who loved to paint, garden and read books. She moved next door to her daughters in Henagar, Ala., and made world-class biscuits and gravy, according to one of them. She also is survived by a son in Mentone, Ala., 10 grandchildren and several great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren. She died with her son, Robert.

Robert Timothy Ott

Robert Timothy Ott, 52, had just moved from California to help care for his mother, Ida. He was with her when they both died. He loved to fish and was looking for a job locally. In California, he had worked as a sheet metal worker and put in heating and air-conditioning units. He leaves behind a son and daughter in Oregon, as well as his brother and sisters.

Esther Rosson

Esther Rosson, 81, had survived cancer and losing her husband three weeks before the storm hit. She loved to cook and always would urge her nine children and many grandchildren to sit down and eat. She made the best sweet tea in the world, according to her grandson. She did not get a driver's license until her children were all grown, but when she was 70 she got her license to drive an 18-wheeler. Rosson also loved to garden and play Putt-Putt golf.

Terry Tinker

Terry Lynn "Tub" Tinker, 50, lived with his mother, Jewell, and they died together. Though disabled, he liked fishing and was good-natured. He was deaf in one ear and didn't like crowds, said his sister, Pat Brown.

Jewell Elizabeth Ewing

Jewell Elizabeth Tinker Ewing, 73, was a retiree who enjoyed water aerobics, family get-togethers and barbecue. She always had a smile on her face. Ewing is survived by a son and daughter, a stepson and stepdaughter, three sisters, two brothers, a granddaughter and three great-grandchildren.

Daniel Vermillion

Daniel Vermillion, 42, died with his 44-year-old wife, Jilda, and his stepdaughter, 15-year-old Courtney McGaha. The couple's 9-year-old daughter, Abby Juliett Vermillion, survived the storm. Daniel liked to go camping with his family. He managed the service department at Westmoreland Tire Co. and was a good worker.

Jilda Vermillion

Jilda Vermillion, 44, leaves two daughters behind. Her husband, Daniel, and daughter, Courtney McGaha, died with her when the family was blown out of their brick home.

Courtney Jo McGaha

Courtney Jo McGaha, 15, attended Plainview High School in Rainsville.

Hubert Wooten

Hubert Wooten, 70, was dubbed by his granddaughter as the "World Champion Chicken Soup Maker." He was a skilled country-style chef and loved to play in the kitchen and make up new recipes with his wife, Juanita. He died with his wife and mother-in-law, Lethel Izell.

Juanita Wooten

Juanita Wooten, 70, would cook and care for people in her Rainsville community whether she knew them well or not. When she and her husband, Hubert, weren't spending time with their three sons and their families, they dedicated their free time to visiting the sick, sitting in nursing homes and comforting community members at funerals. She died with her husband and mother, Lethel Izell.

Lethel Izell

Lethel "Leek" Izell, 86, lived with her family on the 40-acre farm that she had called home since she started raising her two children, Juanita and Charles. She loved to garden and cook and was best known for her potato cobbler and tea cakes. She died with her daughter and son-in-law, Juanita and Hubert Wooten.

Charlotte Bludsworth, 36, left behind her husband, two daughters and other family members.

Emma Ferguson, 6, loved being a girl. She had a passion for playing dress-up - especially when she was dressing up in pink - and cheerleading with her friends. She died with her mother, Tawnya, and father, Jeremy.

Jeremy Ferguson, 34, was a hunter, construction worker and Alabama football fan but, above all else, a father. He and his wife, Tawnya Ferguson, had two kids, a 6-year-old daughter who also died in the storm, and a 10-year-old son who survived but sustained injuries.

William Carroll "Buddy" Michaels, 70, was retired from Carpenters Local 74 and former pastor of Ider Holiness Church. He died with his wife, Martha.

Martha Pritchett Michaels, 72, died with her husband, Buddy. She leaves behind children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Eula Miller, 80, was a retired home health care nurse who cared for patients in their homes. She left behind six daughters, two sons, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren.

Peggy Sparks, 52, was married, had two sons and four grandchildren.

Judith White, 63, died of smoke inhalation with her husband, Wayne, after the couple built a fire in their fireplace the day after a tornado knocked out power to their home.

Wayne White, 68, died with his wife, Judith.


Scott Atterton

Brandon "Scott" Atterton, 23, was a student at the University of Alabama and had more friends than anyone she knew, his mother said. He planned to be a teacher and basketball coach after he graduated. He was a lifelong resident of Bryant, Ala., and was employed by DCH Regional Medical Center. He enjoyed golf, basketball and sports.

Kathy Haney

Kathy Joann Haney, 46, loved to fish better than anything else. She also enjoyed digging ginseng on Sand Mountain. She was killed the morning of April 27, in the first round of storms that hit Pisgah, Ala. She leaves behind her husband and other family members.

Blake Peek

Blake Peek, 24, was a student at the University of Alabama. He died with his girlfriend, Morgan Sigler

Morgan Marlene Sigler

Morgan Marlene Sigler, 23, was a senior graphic design student at the University of Alabama who died with her boyfriend, Blake, and close friend, Scott Atterton. She loved to make people laugh, the kind of person who would walk up to the person who was alone in a group and make them feel included. Always a daddy's girl, she would wiggle her way in between her two brothers to sit next to her father and was learning to play golf so she could spend more time with him. She last spoke to her parents the Sunday before she died and her last words were, "I love you with all my heart."

Herbert Satterfield

Herbert J. Satterfield, 90, died with his wife, Ann. He was our hero, daddy, grandfather, great-grandfather, but most of all, he was our friend, family members said.

Elizabeth Ann Satterfield, 81, died with her husband, Herbert. The two enjoyed gardening together, and the sweet corn and green beans they planted in the spring are almost ready to harvest. No photo.

Janie Lou Shannon

Janie Lou Autry Shannon, 80, of Chickamauga, Ga., had recently moved to Jackson County to live with her grandson. She had worked at the Tri-County/Hutcheson Medical Center and National Health Care of Fort Oglethorpe, Ga.

Shelba Jean Shannon

Shelba Jean Whited Shannon, 58, died from storm-related injuries with her parents, John and Elease Whited. She loved to garden and shared blueberries from her plants with children in the neighborhood. She leaves behind two brothers and a son, Ronnie.

John Osbern Whited

John Osbern "Ob" Whited, 77, had been married to his wife, Elease, for 60 years and the two were inseparable. The two enjoyed gardening, growing flowers and helping all their neighbors on County Road 95. He died with his wife, Elease, and daughter, Shelba.

Katherine Elease Whited

Katherine Elease Whited, 75, died with her husband and daughter. She enjoyed growing flowers and would dig up wildflowers to transplant them into her yard. She and her husband were buried in the same grave. They left behind two sons, eight grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.

Branen Warren

Branen Warren, 13, was a sixth-grader at Stevenson Middle School, where he played football.