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Widow, coworkers remember Chesterfield man killed during 2018 tornado outbreak

Posted at 6:18 PM, Sep 17, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-17 18:18:49-04

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. -- The scars of the deadly September 17, 2018 tornado are still visible in Chesterfield one year later. Half of St. John Furniture on Hull Street Road sits partially collapsed and condemned.

Old Dominion Flooring Co. was struck by an EF-2 tornado and immediately reduced to rubble. Kim and John Jones have since rebuilt their company of 25 years.

Sixty-year-old Ronnie Bishop was working inside the Speeks Drive warehouse when the tornado hit.

Bishop worked for the Jones' for 15 years. The couple along with 15 employees hid in bathrooms and a hallway.

Sadly, Bishop couldn't reach safety in time.


"Everybody, everywhere was looking for him," John Jones recalled. "It was a bad day for Old Dominion Floor, especially because we lost a friend and family member."

The Jones' wanted to find a way to memorialize their friend.

They constructed a bench made up of Bishop's work truck - they used his bumper for the seat and the tailgate for a backrest.

"It's with heavy hearts today that we mark the one year anniversary of the day a tornado hit Old Dominion Floor Company and we lost one of our family. May you rest in peace Ronnie "Grand-Paw" Bishop," the company's Facebook post read.

The bench will now sit inside the warehouse where he worked.

Bishop's widow, Gina, visited his gravesite at Sunset Memorial Park on Tuesday. She brought a group of friends, a wreath, a toolbox and a couple of Bud Lights.

"Ronnie you are so missed by so many you have no clue," Gina cried. "I want to wake up from the dream. That's what I want to do. I just can’t wake up."

She said her friends and the community have helped her get through a tough year.

"I told him I'd cross my heart - that I would never forget him or stop loving him," Gina stated. "If I had known that he wouldn’t live the rest of my life with me, then I would’ve loved him harder and better."