A 2-month-old girl whose family tried their best to protect her by placing her in a car safety seat. An Arkansas Korean War veteran of 94 years. A Tennessee florist who has been a long-time employee and recently started a new career as an airport security guard. Amazon warehouse worker in Illinois. Kentucky judge, known for his common sense.
These were just a few of the many people who died in Friday’s tornadoes, which ripped through five states in South and Midwest. There were many confirmed deaths in Arkansas and Kentucky, Missouri, Missouri, Tennessee, and that number is expected to rise. Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear stated Monday that at least 74 people had died in Kentucky.
These are the names of some people who died in the tornadoes.
As the storms approached, Douglas Koon, Jackie Koon and their three children were huddled together in Dawson Springs’ bathroom by his mother-in law. The tornado struck the house directly, throwing the family around, and tossing in the air a bathtub that was protecting two of his sons. Oaklynn, their infant daughter, was placed in a car seat by the couple to protect her. She appeared to be fine on Saturday.
Douglas Koon, MSNBC’s Saturday interviewer, said that it was the most traumatizing thing she’d ever experienced. She felt helpless to protect her children. The baby began having seizures on Sunday and doctors discovered a brain bleed when she was taken to the hospital. Koon posted on Facebook that they believed she suffered a stroke. He wrote, “It’s certainly not looking good at the moment.” “The machines keep her alive.”
The infant died Monday morning.
Koon sent a text message Monday to The Associated Press, stating that he is struggling to “process everything that I’m going though.”
A family member set up a GoFundMe account to support Koon’s family as well as his mother-in law, Sheila Rose. Rose lost her home in a tragic accident.
Lisa Taylor, a 14-year-old florist in Memphis, Tennessee, left to begin a new job at the Transportation Security Administration in October. Rachel’s Flowers co-workers congratulated Lisa with balloons and a sign that said, “Good Luck Lisa.”
Taylor, 54, kept in touch with her flower shop friends and made plans to return part time over the holidays to make more money. After the overnight storms, the phone rang just as the power was restored to the flower shop. Taylor’s longtime boyfriend called with the terrible news. Taylor was sleeping in her bed when she heard that a large tree had fallen through the roof.
Angie Morton, who was a florist along with Taylor for many years, said that Taylor had just started her new adventure.
Taylor, a single mother of two young children, accepted her government job to increase her wages and stability.
Morton explained that she had a creative flair that made her a natural at working with flowers. Morton mentioned that she helped grieving families to design funeral arrangements and used bits of castoff jewelry to give high school prom corsages a custom sparkle.
Morton stated that she loved to dress up everything. She would find things that other people would discard and create beautiful things from them. She would look for a pair of matching earrings in a shop and think, “I know someone who would love that earring.”
Charles Newell, Shelby County’s deputy emergency management administrator, stated that she was the only storm victim in the area that includes Memphis.
Rachel Greer, the owner of the flower shop, was helping to plan floral arrangements for Taylor’s funeral. She explained that Taylor’s daughter wanted “a sea of purple flowers”, such as chrysanthemums and lavender roses, to match her mother’s favorite color.
Customers were also dropping by the shop to leave condolences or leave notes. One note read, “Lisa was light in a dark place.”
Golden Wes Hembrey (94), died after a tornado tore through the nursing home he was living in Monette, Arkansas.
Mike Hembrey, Mike’s nephew, stated that the Korean War veteran and retired farmer was in the nursing home because of Alzheimer’s disease. He remembered that his uncle was always involved with his extended family in his younger years.
His nephew stated that he was “outgoing.” He would be playing in the yard with us. Don’t make him mad. He was mad when he was mad.”
“He liked cutting up, telling jokes,” said niece Kristie Carmichael.
According to the Hembreys, Jimmie Hembrey visited his brother Jimmie Hembrey the day before the tornado hit and found him in good health.
Robert Daniel, Graves County deputy, was overseeing inmate workers at the Mayfield candle factory, Kentucky when the tornado struck. Monday’s boss stated that Daniel was focused on his prisoners when the tornado destroyed the plant.
Daniel “gave his life while physically ensuring his 7 inmates were moved to a safe place, from which they all survived,” Graves County Jailer George Workman stated in a Facebook post. “He couldn’t get there in time.”
Mark Saxton Sr., a cousin, stated that Daniel was from the Mayfield area, which was destroyed by the storm. He stated that Daniel worked as a deputy for many years, overseeing inmates who were assigned to work release programs.
Saxton stated, “He loved his family,” He was a wonderful family man. Everyone who had the opportunity to meet him loved him. He is the kind of person you want as a friend.
One judge stated that Brian Crick was a judge in two western Kentucky counties. He was well-known for his sound judgment when it comes to solving problems.
Crick (43), was a district judge in Muhlenberg and McLean Counties. He handled juvenile cases, traffic court, and criminal misdemeanors, according to Circuit Judge Brian W. Wiggins. Wiggins stated that he knew his fellow judge from 2005, when Crick worked as a public defense attorney. After leaving public practice, he was in private practice until he became a judge in 2011.
Wiggins stated that many of the defendants who appeared before him were not represented by lawyers. Crick was “very good about seeing to their rights,” Wiggins stated. He had a very practical approach. He was very clear about how to deal with cases and how to communicate with people.
Wiggins was struck by a storm and killed at his Muhlenberg County home. Wiggins stated that Wiggins is survived by his wife and three children. All of them made it through the storm without serious injuries. He was a consummate family man, very committed to his children and wife. He regarded them as number one.”
“We are particularly heartbroken to hear the news,” Chief Justice John Minton of Kentucky Supreme Court said in a statement. We are praying for his family, his community, the court system, and his loved ones.
Two of June Pennington’s children stated that the Manila, Arkansas resident was dedicated to her children and nine grandchildren. She also had a special love for animals.
Pennington, 52 years old, was an assistant manager at Dollar General in Leachville, Arkansas when the tragedy struck.
Christie Pennington said that she loved her grandchildren and children more than anything. “She was selfless and loved unconditionally.”
David Benefield is the oldest of June Pennington’s four children. He said that he was born at 14 years old when his mother was 14.
“She was a child raising a child. He said that they were best friends. It’s amazing how close you can become.
Benefield stated that her children will always remember her as someone who would do “anything we asked her to,” June Pennington remained close to her children, even after she had grown up.
Christie Pennington claimed that her mother adopted cats, dogs, rabbits, birds and turtles.
She said, “If ever there was an animal in dire need of a home,”
Clayton Lynn Cope was 29 years old and had worked at Amazon for over a year. He died at an Amazon facility in southwestern Illinois.
The facility was also the site of five other workers who died in the incident.
Cope was a native of Alton, Illinois. He had joined the Navy shortly after graduating from high school. His dog Draco held a special place within his heart, according to Rachel Cope, his younger sister.
Cope wrote that he would do anything for anyone.
Ollie Borgmann (84), was a sweet, “typical grandmother” who lived in Defiance, Missouri for many decades.
On Friday night, a tornado struck the home she shares with Vernon, her 84-year old husband. It blew the foundation off the house and also a neighbor’s in the small town about 40 miles (64 km) west of St. Louis.
Mark Borgmann, her son, said that Keith was on the phone with his father during the storm. Louis Post-Dispatch that Keith was talking to his father on the phone during the storm. Vernon Borgmann’s next memory is of waking up in a field, surrounded by debris. Mark Borgmann said that although he suffered some minor injuries, he will recover.
Rescuers found Ollie Borgmann awake when she was discovered. Later, she died in a hospital.
Lovan reported from Louisville in Kentucky. Bynum reported in Savannah, Georgia. This article was contributed by Jeff Amy and Travis Loller, Associated Press writers in Nashville, Tennessee, Terry Wallace in Dallas, Sophie Tareen, Chicago, Josh Funk, Mike Schneider in Orlando Florida, and Mike Funk in Omaha Nebraska.