Friends say teen who suddenly died was a proud church member, JROTC cadet

ROWAN COUNTY, N.C. — A community is mourning after the sudden death of 17-year-old Dalton Gay.

“His infectious smile really lit up a room and then the first time we hung out was at my house,” said C.J. Goforth, a friend. “A couple of students came over and we had corny rap battles.”

Goforth and Fisher Furr were close friends of the teen and attended church with him at Charity Baptist in Kannapolis.

“He was highly involved at Charity on the student ministry,” said Furr, a youth pastor. “Also at Sunday morning services, so he had a huge impact on students in every sphere of life.”

Gay was a proud member of JROTC at South Rowan High School where a memorial was spray painted on the school rock. He was also a rising senior at Jesse C. Carson High School.

“He played multiple sports, football, and baseball,” Furr said. “He was in JROTC.”

Friends say Dalton’s future was bright. They say he wanted to attend either West Point or Liberty University who was led by his faith to be a positive influence.

“His life was surrendered to Jesus, and I think that if the world had a couple more Dalton’s, what a brighter place it would be,” Goforth said.

“He could make anyone smile,” Furr said. “He never met a stranger. If he could talk to them at the end of a five-minute conversation, he would leave that person thinking he was their new best friend.”

Gay’s family members have not said what the cause of death was.

Friends said it was a medical emergency despite Gay being in good health.

VIDEO: Rowan County residents mourn death of Jesse C. Carson student