Family copes with loss after deadly tornado

May 17, 2008 8:43:13 AM PDT
A Moore County family is still coping with their personal devastation after the tornadoes that ripped through the state last week.

Donald Needham, 52, was the only fatality from those storms in the Triad. His family lives in Moore County and talked with Eyewitness News about their heartache.

"Donald never met a stranger, and he always had a smile," widow Elaine Needham said. "I'm numbed. Its like my heart is lost, that's exactly how I feel. I've lost my heart, and hurt real bad."

A week ago Donald died when his truck was smashed by a tornado that ripped through Greensboro. He was parked waiting to pick up a load of mail.

Eyewitnesses say the winds flipped his truck and smashed it into another vehicle.

"I miss my Daddy so much it hurts," Donald's daughter Crystal said. "I'm not going to see my Daddy no more."

Through their tears Crystal and her older sister Tanya wants people to know their dad was a great dad.

"He got out there and planted flowers with me and he would go fishing," Crystal said. "My daddy was a special dad."

"He could cheer you up no matter how bad you were down," Tony said. "He was there for everyone."

A special man -- Elaine's first love. She and Donald first met as teenagers.

The couple married in 1979. They had their ups and downs, but Elaine says Donald always told her he loved her. That was the last thing he said to her last Thursday.

It's a promise of eternal lover Elaine and her family now cling to for strength to live as he did.

"Donald would always say, 'have time to stop and say hello and always carry a smile on your face' that was Don," Elaine recalled.


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