Graniteville train accident remembered
LENGTH OF EMPLOYMENT AT AVONDALE MILLS: 12 years
FAMILY: He is survived by his father, Fred J. Rushton Jr., of Warrenville; sons, Christopher D. Rushton, Dustin W. Rushton and Shane Kelly; daughters, Kristin Kelly and Caroline Kelly; a sister, Freda Koster and her husband, Scott Koster, of Aiken; his life partner, Kimberley Kelly, of Warrenville; motorcycle riding partner Freddie Leopard; and his beloved pets, Sandy, Max and Sasha.
ABOUT MR. RUSHTON: He was a native and lifelong resident of Aiken County. He was a 1982 graduate of Midland Valley High School. HOW WILL MR. RUSHTON BE REMEMBERED? "He will be remembered for his love of life, Jimmy Buffet music and riding motorcycles," Ms. Kelly said.
LENGTH OF EMPLOYMENT AT AVONDALE MILLS: 18 years
FAMILY: He is survived by his wife, Sherry Randall Shealey, of Graniteville; sons, Chad Shealey, Travis Shealey and Brent Shealey, all of Graniteville; brothers, Gerald Shealey, of Gloverville, S.C., and Drake Bush, of Gilbert, S.C.; sister, Teresa Brooks, of Gloverville; and stepsister, Sharon Muniz.
ABOUT MR. SHEALEY: He was a lifelong resident of Aiken County and was a graduate of Leavelle McCampbell High School. He was a member of the National Guard's 122nd Engineering Battalion in Graniteville, S.C., and was also a member of the New Ellenton Riding Club.
HOW WILL MR. SHEALEY BE REMEMBERED? As a "wonderful husband and father and an animal lover, especially of horses," said his wife, Sherry Randall Shealey.
OCCUPATION: Paint mixer in the textile unit
LENGTH OF EMPLOYMENT AT AVONDALE MILLS: 16 years
FAMILY: Wife of 36 years, Henrietta Tyler; two daughters, Vicky Tyler, of Aiken, and Coretta (Patsy) Bynem, of Wagener, S.C.; one godson, Antonio Corley, of Aiken; four sisters, Mae Tyler, Linda Tyler, Florine Danely and Catherine Christen; two brothers, Boyd Tyler and Edmond Tyler, all of Aiken.
ABOUT MR. TYLER: He loved his church and was a deacon at Sardis Baptist Church, Salley, S.C. He loved to sing. Everyone knew him for his love of gospel singing, including his work with The Fantastic Melodairs, and the most recent group he formed, Deacon Willie Tyler and the Gospel Jewels.
HOW WILL MR. TYLER BE REMEMBERED? "He really enjoyed singing a gospel song he composed called the Same Train, and people always called him 'The Same Train Man,'" his sister-in-law Angela Gleaton said.
HOMETOWN: Sherbrooke, Quebec
OCCUPATION: Truck driver
FAMILY: Father, Tracey Stone, of Sherbrooke; girlfriend Kristen Bobbitt, of Sherbrooke.
ABOUT MR. STONE: Mr. Stone became a truck driver just a few months before his death. He was a welder, but he had to quit because the fumes and smoke bothered his asthma. He was working for JW Express, driving about 3,100 miles a week to deliver materials such as peanuts and vending machines throughout Canada and the eastern United States.
OCCUPATION: Fork lift driver
LENGTH OF EMPLOYMENT AT AVONDALE MILLS: Several years, according to family
FAMILY: Survivors include his infant son, Steven Wayne Bagby Jr., Augusta; his father, Samuel A. Bagby Sr., and his fiance, Marie Schooler, Augusta; his brothers and sisters, Judith Lewis and her husband, DeWayne, of Augusta, Samuel Bagby Jr. and his wife, Judy, of Aiken, and William "Bill" Bagby and his wife, Nikki, of Augusta. He is also survived by his nieces and nephews, Elizabeth Ann Ackerman, Shane Bagby, Philip Bagby and Haley Bagby, three great nieces and two great nephews.
ABOUT MR. BAGBY: Born in Germany, Mr. Bagby resided in Augusta most of his life. He was an avid fisherman and hunter.
HOW WILL MR. BAGBY BE REMEMBERED? As a hard worker who followed in the steps of his brothers, who also once worked at mills, his father said.
HOMETOWN: North Augusta
OCCUPATION: Lead machine operator
LENGTH OF EMPLOYMENT AT AVONDALE MILLS: Five years
FAMILY: Father and stepmother, John Henry Laird Sr. and Linda Cauthen Laird, of North Augusta; mother and stepfather, Sara Craig Kennebeck and Marvin Kennebeck, of Crossville, Tenn.; his maternal grandmother, Hazel Posey, of Aiken; and his maternal grandfather, Lewis Ronnie Craig, of New Ellenton; a sister, Sarah Marie Laird, of Knoxville, Tenn.; and a brother, Cole Cecil Laird, of Bristol, Tenn.; two stepsisters, Amanda Randall, of Clearwater, S.C.; and Dana Randall, of North Augusta; a niece, Sarah Rebecca Laird, of Knoxville; and a number of aunts, uncles and cousins.
ABOUT MR. LAIRD: Mr. Laird was born in Augusta. He was a member of Breezy Hill Baptist Church in Graniteville.
HOW WILL MR. LAIRD BE REMEMBERED? "As a good-hearted person who would do anything for anybody," his father said.
HOMETOWN: West Columbia, S.C.
OCCUPATION: Conductor/engineer for Norfolk Southern Railroad
FAMILY: He is survived by his father, Stephen Seeling, and stepmother, Patty, of Lenexa, Kansas; mother, Rebecca Jane Fortmeyer, and stepfather, Ed Schmidt, of Morehead City, N.C.; sisters, Carolyn Tomlinson, of Elkhart, Ind., Rebecca Kapsner, of Melrose, Minn., Naomi Knafla, of Sauk Rapids, Minn., and Theresa Schmidt of Morehead City; and brothers, Joseph Schmidt, of Milaca, Minn., and Edward Schmidt, of Morehead City.
ABOUT MR. SEELING: He was born in Fort Wayne, Ind., and lived in the Columbia area since 1996. He was a graduate of B.S.N.F. Railroad Academy at Johnson County Community College. He was secretary/treasurer of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers & Trainmen and a member of the First Presbyterian Church.
HOMETOWN: Ridge Spring, S.C.
LENGTH OF EMPLOYMENT AT AVONDALE MILLS: 36 years
FAMILY: He is survived by his wife, his daughter Celita Frazier and his son Quincy Frazier, of Ridge Spring. ABOUT MR. FRAZIER: He was a native and lifelong resident of Aiken County. He was a graduate of Midland Valley High School.
HOW WILL MR. FRAZIER BE REMEMBERED? As a kind father who loved his family and enjoyed cooking, said his daughter, Celita Frazier.
ABOUT MR. DELOACH: Mr. DeLoach was disabled and used a wheelchair. He was known as "the shrimp man" because he sold shrimp out of his house on Main Street.
On January 6, 2005, a Norfolk Southern Corp. freight train carrying chemicals hit a parked train near an Avondale Mills plant in Graniteville, South Carolina. The impact caused poisonous chlorine gas to leak from three of the moving train's cars. 9 people died from exposure to chlorine gas and more than 5,000 were evacuated from the site.