Archived Story

Remembering the Gandys

Published 11:17am Thursday, April 25, 2013

If you ask those who knew Debbie and Austin Gandy, you’ll likely hear the same sentiments – they loved their children, they loved sports and they loved their church.

Austin and Debbie were killed in a tragic car accident April 5. They left behind five sons and daughters, numerous grandchildren and even more friends.

“They were die-hard sports fans – Auburn fans,” said son Mark Gandy. “Miss Debbie was was a real die-hard Auburn fan. She pulled for everyone who was playing Alabama.”

While football was a love the two both shared, the couple enjoyed watching any sport – especially if one of their children was playing.

“They loved to come to our games,” said Tatum Gandy, daughter. “They were at the fields as much as they could be.”

Tatum said that the two also enjoyed quiet nights at home watching television.

“My dad loved NCIS – we always watched that,” Tatum said. “They also would watch Lifetime movies every night.”

Tatum said the two were alike in some ways but in some ways very different.

“Mom worried a lot,” Tatum laughed. “She would annoy the heck out of you sometimes, but she would always make sure you had everything you needed and that we got where we needed on time.

“My dad, on the other hand, was kind of laid back. He went with the flow and loved laughing and talking with people every time he went out.”

Austin worked most his life in the trucking business. He was the owner and operator of Dagwood Trucking.

“(Trucking) is where his heart was,” Mark said. “From the time he was confined to a wheelchair, not a day went by where he didn’t say, ‘I wish I could get back in that truck.’”

Austin was diagnosed with ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) and was confined to a wheelchair late in his life. However, friends say he never let this get him down.

“Austin was such an inspiration to our church,” said Louise Pritchard, family friend and member of Comer United Methodist Church, where the Gandy’s attended. “Every time you asked how he was doing, he would say, ‘Just right.’ He was always asking about someone else.

“Austin’s daddy had a saying that Austin liked to use – ‘Pray and press on.’”

This strength was not unique to just Austin, Pritchard said. This became especially apparent after Austin was confined to a wheelchair, as Debbie worked full-time as a postmaster to support her family.

“She was a very hardworking person, having a full-time job and being a mother, but I never heard her complain,” Pritchard said. “She pushed her kids to get where they are today. She was just very dedicated to her family. Austin and Debbie supported their kids and supported each other.”