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Two Rowan County men killed in Iredell head-on collision

By Shavonne Walker

shavonne.walker@salisburypost.com

Two Rowan County families are mourning the deaths of loved ones after a two-vehicle collision Monday at the Iredell-Rowan county line.

Gregory “Greg” Story, 51, was leaving work at Freightliner in Cleveland, where he had worked for 27 years, when he apparently suffered a heart attack while driving home. The China Grove resident was going the speed limit, his wife said, but ran off the road and came back. State Highway Patrol reports said Story was driving in a slight curve when the crash occurred.

He crashed head-on with another vehicle driven by Cleveland resident Trenton “Trent” Smith, 60, who was traveling east on Amity Hill Road. Highway Patrol officials said the crash happened at 3:41 p.m. and both men died at the scene.

Story was a quality control team leader for Freightliner, but he had held many positions at the Cleveland company. Smith, an East Rowan High School graduate, began working part time at DuraFiber Technologies, formerly Fiber Industries, while in high school and had continued there ever since.

Teenage romance

Story and his wife, Kelly, had been married 30 years. They met when she was 17 and he was 19.

“He was cruising around the Carolina Mall, and I was waiting to go to a movie. He called me over to his car,” she said.

Greg went out of his way to find out about Kelly, whose teacher was married to one of Greg’s co-workers. He asked about her, and the two would go on to date for two years before they were married.

The two were heavily involved in Emmanuel Emmaus Community, part of the Walk to Emmaus ecumenical movement of the Upper Room of the United Methodist Church. It’s a spiritual renewal group for Christians who are active in church. The couple also for years worked with the Carson High School booster club.

Greg loved anything to do with the lake, including kayaking and water skiing, which he’d done since he was young. Greg also was a big fisherman, his wife said. He’d go on his boat and fish at High Rock Lake or Lake Norman. He also entered local fishing tournaments.

“That was his thing,” Kelly said.

She accompanied him on fishing trips a few times, but it wasn’t really for her.

Greg also regularly rode motorcycles.

“He cared about a lot of things, but he cared about his children the most,” Kelly said.

Greg talked about his children all the time and was proud of them both.

A memorial service for Story will be held at 11 a.m. today at First United Methodist Church in China Grove.

The family has asked that in lieu of flowers, donations be made toward daughter Karissa Story’s tuition at Wingate University School of Pharmacy via a Go Fund Me page. The page can be found through searching for Greg Story Memorial by Karissa Story.

“That’s what he would’ve wanted,” Kelly said.

Karissa became a certified surgical technician after high school and then became a certified pharmacy technician. She went to work at the former Med Express in Salisbury.

Karissa, 22, eventually moved to Concord, where she began working for Foster Animal Hospital preparing medication for the animals. She liked the job and learned that she could get her pharmacy degree with less than two years of coursework.

Pharmacy school costs $32,000 a year, Kelly said, including living expenses.

The couple’s son, Matthew, 27, is a civil engineer with ESP in Cornelius.

“Greg was the one known as the good guy,” said his wife, Kelly.

He was also a part of the local union at Freightliner. The couple have often adopted children in Yadkinville during the Christmas holidays.

Kelly said what she’ll miss the most is her husband’s smile and his laugh and “how he loved everybody so much.”

Family and a pet bird

Trent Smith was an active member at Cornerstone Baptist Church in Cleveland and has gone on mission trips. He helped build churches in Montana, New York, Alaska, Colorado and Wyoming.

On his days off at DuraFiber, Smith spent his time doing odd jobs and home improvement projects, sometimes for no pay. After graduating from high school, he took cabinet-making classes at Rowan-Cabarrus Community College.

Smith and his wife, Deana Fisher Smith, had been married for 19 years. The couple have one son, Eddie, and four grandchildren. They also have a beloved pet bird, Pretty Boy, a 57-year-old yellow-headed Amazon parrot. In a 2012 Post article, Trent recalled how he got the talkative parrot from his Aunt Maude. The parrot was originally bought for Maude’s mother-in-law, who soon after returned it to Maude.

When Trent was in elementary school, his aunt gave him the parrot because her husband didn’t like him. After seven years, a cousin who was Maude’s daughter came and got Pretty Boy and moved to Richmond, Virginia. Trent got the bird back several years later because the cousin’s husband didn’t like Pretty Boy either. The two had been inseparable ever since.

Smith donated more than 60 gallons of blood to the American Red Cross and several feet of his hair to Locks of Love.

The family will receive friends at 1 p.m. today and following a 2 p.m. memorial service at Trinity Wesleyan Church. The family has asked that in lieu of flowers, memorials be made to Cornerstone Baptist Church, 200 Clearview Drive, Cleveland, NC 27013.
Contact reporter Shavonne Walker at 704-797-4253.

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