Congregation mourns Rowan Co. family killed in West Virginia crash

CONCORD, N.C. — The Gilley family was passing through West Virginia on their way to visit relatives for Easter weekend, when their car was hit by a tractor-trailer, killing all four.

The family has been members at the Concord Church of Christ for years and the congregation is heartbroken over the loss.

Elders said the entire family was at church last Sunday and a lot of people were still in shock after learning the tragic news.

The family's pastor said the Gilleys were headed for Ohio on Thursday to visit relatives. They were traveling on Interstate 77 in West Virginia when authorities said the driver of a tractor-trailer lost control and crashed into the Gilleys vehicle.

The truck burst into flames and the Gilleys died.

“We're so sad that this happened because we love them so much and we miss them,” said Tommy Poarch, a church elder.

By Friday, news of the accident made it to their church family. Within hours, they hosted a vigil.

“All of the members here wanted to seek some comfort, and the best way we could do that was to come together as a congregation,” said A.R. Mullinax, an elder at the church.

Jack, 10, the youngest, was a fourth-grader at Bostian Elementary School. Grace,13, was a student at Salisbury Academy.

Friends said Christine, the mother, had a passion for Crossfit and Christ. David, the father, was described as “an encourager.”

“His goal was that his family might all be together one day in heaven,” Poarch said. “In that, we can rejoice over the most horrific thing we could imagine.”

The church was concerned this building wouldn't be big enough to hold all of the people who wanted to honor this family.

Their funeral will be in the Omwake-Dearborn Chapel at Catawba College at 3 p.m. Friday, April 21. A reception will follow in the Crystal Lounge on the Catawba campus.

Salisbury Academy is planning a private vigil for Grace Monday night at the school.

“This is a hard loss for us and we're in pain,” Poarch said.

The Rowan County School District released the following statement on Jack Gilley’s death.

STATEMENT:  It is with great sadness that Rowan-Salisbury Schools learned that one our Bostian Elementary fourth-grade students, Jack Gilley, was involved in an accident that took the lives of his entire family.

This is an unexpected and deep loss for the Bostian family and for all of Rowan-Salisbury Schools. Our district's crisis intervention team is available for students, staff and families, and they will be continue to be available when students and teachers return from Spring Break on April 24. The team will provide support for as long as needed.

Jack is remembered as a smart, fun loving, full of life, Harry Potter-loving student. He was a leader, a role model, a jokester, and a friend. 

We ask everyone to keep the Gilley family and our students and staff in your thoughts and prayers.

Salisbury Academy is planning a private candlelight vigil for the Gilley family. Although this is a private service, we deeply appreciate that they have welcomed and invited our Bostian family to attend. 

We are grateful for the strong support of parents, students, teachers, staff and our community.

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