Funeral Services Set For Some Of Apison Tornado Victims

4 Died In Residence On Clonts Road But 8-Year-Old Survives; 2 Couples Killed On Bates Road

Friday, April 29, 2011
Damage at Apison
Damage at Apison

Funeral services have been set for some of the eight people killed when a deadly tornado struck down in Apison on Wednesday evening.

Services for Bobby and Mary "Sis" Raper will be Sunday at 4 p.m. at Heritage Funeral Home on East Brainerd Road.

Services for Donald and Dorothy Christian are being handled by Turner Funeral Home, Highway 58 Chapel.

Four people died in a single Apison residence in the tornado that tore through the small rural community near the Georgia line. An eight-year-old child in the same residence survived, but was severely hurt.

On Bates Road nearby, two couples died.

All of the victims were in mobile homes.

The fatalities from the F4 tornado that struck the Apison community in Hamilton County are:

1. Jo Ann Darnell, 77, 4607 Clonts Road
2. Adam Carroll, 17, 4607 Clonts Road
3. Joshua Poe, 31, 4607 Clonts Road
4. Brenda Prescott, 56, 4607 Clonts Road
5. Mary Raper, 60, 11720 Bates Road
6. Bobby Raper, 63, 11720 Bates Road
7. Donald Christian, 70, 11704 Bates Road
8. Dorothy Christian, 62, 11704 Bates Road

Josh Poe had been living with his father off Graysville Road in East Brainerd, but he had apparently gone to Clonts Road to check on his grandmother, Jo Ann Darnell, during the storms. Also at the trailer were his aunt, Brenda Prescott, and her grandsons, Adam Carroll and Adam's eight-year-old brother.

Josh Poe is a cousin of Jenny Hullander, wife of Hullco owner Matt Hullander, and he had worked at Hullco until a week ago.

Bill Hullander, former Hullco owner and current county trustee, said, "Josh was a very likable young man."

Jenny Hullander said, "He was very caring. He loved his family. They were very close and always enjoyed being with each other."

She said Josh Poe had a daughter who had just turned two years old.

Josh's mother, Jan, is a sister of Brenda Prescott and daughter of Jo Ann Darnell.

The youngest Carroll boy was flown to Children's Hospital with severe injuries.

Bobby and Mary "Sis" Hullander Raper and Donald and Dorothy Christian lived in trailers to the rear of Margie Hullander on Bates Road. The trailers were reached using Margie Hullander's driveway. Mary Hullander Raper was the daughter of Margie Hullander. Margie Hullander is the aunt of Trustee Bill Hullander.

Trustee Hullander, who was in the middle of the storm at his home on London Lane in Apison, said he received a call at midnight Wednesday from Margie Hullander.

He said, "She was crying. She said some of her windows had blown out."

Trustee Hullander said he told her he could not get out of his driveway to reach her and for her to try to calm down and get some rest. He said, "She did not know at the time that her daughter, Mary, had been killed."

He said she also called her son, Larry Hullander, who lives in East Brainerd, and he was eventually able to get her and take her to his home.

Bobby Raper was a self-employed stone mason who served as pastor at East View Chapel in Meigs County and also ministered to the inmates at Hamilton County Corrections Center. He also performed many wedding ceremonies at The Wedding Chapel in Ringgold. He was a veteran of Vietnam serving in the both the U.S. Army and Air Force.

The Rapers will be buried at the Plowman Cemetery.

Trustee Hullander on Friday said he was still clearing debris at his Apison home on London Lane and was still without power.

He said, "We have ordered 10 dumpsters. One has arrived and we have filled it up."

Mr. Hullander's house was spared, but several outbuildings were blown down. He said the few sections of fence that were not destroyed were being pulled up.

He said a host of volunteers were helping him and his son, Matt, who lives next door.

Both Hullanders said they were able to take showers Friday night for the first time since the storm. Jenny Hullander said, "We have gotten help from so many friends. They have brought us more food than we can eat."

Elizabeth Tallman-Gazaway said she was amazed by the extent of the damage she saw at Apison when she drove in on Thursday morning to check on her aunt and uncle on Blair Road. She said she had to go through several roadblocks to arrive at their house.

She said the County Line Grocery at the corner of Blair Road and Old Alabama Road is nowhere in sight.

She said she saw foundations of a number of houses.

Ms. Tallman-Gazaway said, "I saw a woman walking around holding a screw driver and a pair of sneakers. It was so sad."

She said numerous power lines were still down in the tornado-wracked community.

There were a number of volunteers "with chainsaws working as hard as they could."

She said her aunt and uncle never lost power - it only flickered during the storm.

She said, "They are amazed that they are only a half mile away and they have power and no trees down. They feel very blessed."

Thousands of trees were sheared off at Apison
Thousands of trees were sheared off at Apison

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