Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Well-Respected FL Wrecker Driver Honored

Our condolences to the family and acquaintances of Thomas Jeff Black. The 48-year old died on April 2 at his home in Middleburg, FL.
Here's the First Coast News story about how he was honored:

JACKSONVILLE, FL -- One by one, the tow trucks pulled into a tow lot on the Westside of Jacksonville.

One woman yelled above the roar of the engines, "We got almost 40 trucks coming out here today."

Tow truckers from dozens of Jacksonville wrecker companies gathered for one man, Thomas Jeff Black.

Black, 48, a long-time wrecker driver in Jacksonville, died last Thursday at his Middleburg home.

He was working underneath his van that was up on blocks.

The blocks and wood gave way on the soggy soil, crushing Black underneath. Friends say he died instantly.

Black's 4-year-old daughter found him, put band-aids on the blood on his face, and sat with him until a neighbor came to help.

Black's fellow wrecker drivers wanted to do something special to honor him, so they organized a funeral procession of tow trucks.

Tuesday afternoon, truck driver Dean Hagins told First Coast News, "If anybody could get a car towed, Jeff Black would be the one to do it." Hagins had known Black for years.

Troy Bostick said Black got him started in towing and he's been doing it now for nine years.

"I don't think there's one wrecker driver who could do the work Jeff Black does," Bostick said. "He would be replacing three wrecker drivers."

Tuesday afternoon, wrecker drivers swapped stories about Black. He was a man they all admired.

Hagins said, "I've never seen him take a lunch break. That's how much I've seen him work. He's just a really nice guy."

"He'd do anything for you and wouldn't ask for a dime," Bostick said. "He was a hell of a guy."

Looking at all the trucks, Black's son, Tommy, got a little choked up.

"I didn't actually expect this many," Tommy Black said. "It really touches my heart. It shows a lot of people did love him in this town."

As the convoy of wreckers pulled onto Lenox Avenue, the drivers turned on the truck lights and started honking the horns.

The 30-some trucks rolled down the road, traveled up I-95, and slowly proceeded along N. Main Street to Black's funeral.

Again, the horns blew.

Mourners on the side of the road waved. Some cried.

Hagins said, "He's going to be well-missed. He's just a hard worker."


ibflat2 said...

Its so sad that the daughter had to find him like that... Thoughts and prayers to the family

Anonymous said...

My sister came across this article by accident, we are Jeff's nieces. This was amazing 2 watch all the fellow tow truckers that showed their respect for my uncle. He is still missed greatly. Thank u for the article. And for everyone's thoughts and prayers.