When a 78-year-old man dies, people who knew him come to his home and comfort the family after hearing about the death or reading the obituary in the newspaper.
But when the man is Louis Nathaniel Agurs Sr. - called "Nat" by so many for so long in Rock Hill by anybody who drove a Cadillac or an Olds - and his death came in such a terrible crash that blocked Interstate 77 for hours on Wednesday, the people who come to comfort the family need some comforting themselves.
John Good of the Good Motor Co. family came to 319 Rich St., where Nat Agurs lived for so many decades, carrying boxes of fried chicken and tea for the family, because that is what grieving people do.
The heart full of sorrow he carried was all his own.
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Good is a white man whose family owns the business, and Agurs was a black man who worked at that business for 35 years. Race didn't make a bit of difference Thursday in that living room. Grief and love know no color.
John Good stood there in that living room, embraced Agurs' widow, Ethel, married to Nat for 55 years, and cried tears that shook his body. The room filled with people cried, too, at this expression of love and grief.
"I remember when I was first married, and in the service down at the base at the coast all those years ago," Good said to Ethel. "We didn't even have a chair to sit on. We had nothing.
"You and Nat came down with a sofa for us. Drove all the way. He brought it all the way for us."
Nat Agurs was not just some older man who died to this grieving John Good. Agurs worked for 35 years as a parts salesman at Good Motor Co., now called Good Kia, until he retired.
Agurs' memory was uncanny, unparalleled before or since, and he could find parts and numbers in his brain long before computers kept inventories. The dealership now sells the Kia brand, but for decades, Good sold Cadillacs and Oldsmobiles, and nobody knew the parts for those big great American cars like Nat Agurs.
Agurs helped several of his family get jobs with the Good company, too.
"I loved Nat," Good told Nat's widow, Ethel.
And Ethel Agurs stood there and said, "I know, Mr. Good. We all have that hurtin'. But Nat is with Jesus, now."
John Good said there was no doubt about that.
"Nat Agurs was what being a man is all about," Good said before leaving and saying that if there was anything he could do, he surely would.
Veronica Clayton, a granddaughter of Nat Agurs and student at University of South Carolina-Lancaster, talked about taking her grandparents to North Carolina for the Thanksgiving holiday to visit family. It was a long trip past Durham, and everybody slept - except Veronica and her granddaddy.
"He told me that day that he really enjoyed spending time with me, that he enjoyed staying up with me and learning about my life," Veronica said. "I thought that day what a special grandfather I had."
Veronica even did what teenagers do - she tweeted about that experience then. On the social media site, Twitter, something her grandfather did not use, she told the whole world what a great man she had for a grandfather.
"And now he's gone," Veronica said Thursday. "He can't say how special I am to me now. But he told me. I will never forget it."
The 8 a.m. crash Wednesday came as Nat Agurs, at age 78, was driving his 2001 Ford Windstar van, green, up I-77 to Fort Mill to his three-day-a-week job. He cleaned up and helped out at Smith Paint & Body on S.C. 160, across from the new Wal-Mart.
"It was 8:30, then 9, and our stomachs were in our throats because Nat was never late, never," said Randy Smith, owner of the body shop. "This is a man who worked his whole life. He was dependable."
Finally, word crept from the crash site to Smith's that the van in the crash was green.
"'Oh, no!' we all said," said Smith the body man.
Then, all found out Agurs was dead, and that Timothy Campbell, another Smith worker who was riding to work with Agurs, was hurt. Campbell had to have several stitches after being cut, Smith said.
"Nat Agurs was a great man that young people could learn from," Smith said. "I don't call people great often in my life.
"He was great."
Latest crash details
The Wednesday morning crash that killed Louis Nathaniel Agurs Sr. remains under investigation by the South Carolina Highway Patrol's accident reconstruction team, Lance Cpl. Billy Elder said.
Crash details according to the patrol:
At around 8 a.m., in the northbound lanes of Interstate 77, a van driven by Brad Birmele, 37, of Rock Hill collided with a car driven by Natasha Simpson, 29, of Rock Hill.
Simpson's car collided with the van driven by Agurs.
Agurs' van overturned and hit the median.
Simpson's car overturned to the right side of the highway at the bridge support near Exit 83.
Birmele did not require medical transport. Simpson's condition was listed as good Thursday at Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte, a hospital spokesperson said.