ELLISVILLE, MS (WDAM) - It was a somber afternoon on Sunday, as friends, family, clients and coworkers of a Robison Tire truck driver killed in an accident Friday, gathered to remember him – with a unique 18-wheel touch.
His name was Kenneth Gary Walters – but everyone just called him Gary. He died Friday doing the job he had enjoyed for the last 11 years – driving 18-wheelers for Robison Tires – in the company's first fatal accident in more than 60 years. The crash occurred on I-59, just South of Meridian.
"He was a very simple, simple individual as most people know, we was a guy that didn't even want to put on a suit and tie," said Robison Tire Company Co-owner Michael Windham. "He liked to wear his Robison Tire Company shirt and just a pair of boots and a pair of blue jeans – he was always a guy that didn't really want anything flashy."
And Sunday in a packed chapel at the Ellisville Funeral Home, with folks standing in the back, Walters' clients who got to know him over the years, his coworkers, friends and family, remembered what he was like while they were inside, and celebrated who he was when they came outside.
The hearse carrying Walters to the cemetery parked next to the 18-wheelers that were to be driven by his friends and would follow him to be buried.
"We really lost a good guy and it's a very tragic event and I think that they'll be a lot of memories for the Gary Walters that we all knew and loved and the years that we got to share with him," said Windham.
Truck driving killed him, but it was what he loved and one of the things that defined him. And so the truckers he worked with at Robison came out Saturday and cleaned their trucks up – shined them so they glistened like new, and remembered Walters the best way they knew how: a man on the road.
Walters leaves behind his wife Joanne and two children, Jeremy and Hannah - and a troop of truckers who will not forget him anytime soon.