Bladen farmer, son killed in tornado

Posted April 19, 2011
Updated April 20, 2011

— A Bladen County tobacco farmer, his son and a neighbor were killed Saturday when tornadoes raked the eastern half of North Carolina.

Marchester Avery, 92, Tony Avery, 50, and Darlene Zupo, 52, were among 23 people killed statewide.

Mary Avery, who lives behind her father's home, said she left him with her brother Saturday afternoon. She told her father "I love you" as she said good-bye.

"I just thank God it wasn't me. I'm not saying it like that, but I know that if I'd been here ..." a distraught Mary Avery said, her voice trailing off.

some tornado damage in Bladen County near Bladenboro Three in Bladen County killed in storms

Piles of splinters and debris were all that was left of Marchester Avery and Zupo's homes on Turnbull Road in the crossroads community of Ammon in north Bladen County.

Marchester Avery cut a dashing figure and believed in always dressing sharply, his daughter said.

"His thing was, he needed to look good when he left the house," Mary Avery said.

Marchester Avery left a legacy of kindness and compassion to his 13 children, numerous grandchildren and anyone who had met him, family and friends said.

"He was a deacon in the church, and he stood his ground," his longtime friend Ruby Melvin Smith said.

"My daddy just had this thing about him," Mary Avery said. "He never met a stranger. He never met nobody that he thought he couldn't help."


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  • dontgetmestarted Apr 22, 2011

    That's so sad and my prayer's go out to all the family and loved ones of these 3 (and the many others) that lost their lives. I completely understand what she was trying to say. Sometimes, especially when you are emotional, it just doesn't come out the way you mean it. Sounds like he lived a full life and was loved by many.

  • kcollier39 Apr 20, 2011

    to live to be 92 is a blessing in its self,im surehe touched alot of lives in his life after 92 years,and to his family if you love god and live by his word you to will have that chance to see him again,i know this because the bible tells us dont dwell on his death,but on the times you shared with him.

  • wildcat Apr 20, 2011

    My condolences to the family and friends in the loss of the son. May God/Jesus brings all of you comfort and joy in the morning.

  • wildcat Apr 20, 2011

    God rest his soul. He lived a long life. May he rest in peace.
    My condolences to the family and many friends.

  • Desiderata Apr 20, 2011

    Prayers and condolences for the family and friends .

  • Godschild43 Apr 20, 2011

    Prayers going out to his family and for all that loved him.

  • two2294 Apr 20, 2011

    my thoughts and prayers go out to all affected by these storms, may they all RIP!!!!!

  • sammyg Apr 20, 2011

    He sounds like a wonderful man. God must have needed him for another angel. I hope the family has strength and faith to help heal from their loss.

  • RB aka Spirit Warrior Woman Apr 19, 2011

    Awww, praying for those who loved them.