A single vehicle rollover wreck claimed the life of a Macon County woman on Tuesday afternoon, May 4th, 2010, on State Highway 52 West approximately one quarter of a mile east of the Rocky Mound intersection.
Sixty-year-old Nyoka Reece Rich, of the Hanestown Community, was behind the wheel of an eastbound Toyota Four Runner, when the vehicle crossed the center line into oncoming traffic, and she overcorrected to get back into the east bound lane of travel causing the SUV to flip and go off the south side of the highway. Rich, who was not wearing a seatbelt, was ejected from the vehicle and died on the scene as a result of her injuries.
She was born in Macon County, Tennessee, on October 19, 1949, the daughter of the late John Webster and Gertie Mae Blankenship Steen. A homemaker, she was married to Jerry Rich, who survives, on June 25, 1973, sharing thirty-six wonderful years together.
She was involved with the Cub Scouts for several years and then later volunteered for the Family Readiness Group through the National Guard in Lafayette. Her daughter, Michelle, was in Desert Storm, and she enjoyed working with others who had family members at war; trying to help them through the transition, anyway she could. Nyoka liked to work crossword puzzles and to embroider, but she treasured her time spent playing with her pets, including two dogs and a bird. She deeply loved and cared for her family, and she had a special place in her heart for her granddaughter. A dedicated member of the Lafayette Missionary Baptist Church, she will be greatly missed by her loving family and all who knew her.
Funeral services were held on Thursday, May 6th, 2010 at 2:00 p.m. from the Chapel of Alexander Funeral Home, here in Lafayette, with Elder Greg Dunham officiating. Pallbearers were Phillip Smith, Terry Steen, Randy East, Tony East, Scott East, and Jeff East, with interment in the Hayesville Cemetery.
Nyoka is survived by her husband Jerry Rich, of the Hanestown Community in Macon County; daughter Michelle Rich of Lafayette, sons, Darrell Rich, and Tim & wife Jacquelyn Rich of Lafayette; brother Terry & wife Laura Steen also of Lafayette, Tn.; sister-in-law Roseanna Steen of Indianapolis, Indiana; and grandchild Elyssa Mae Rich.
Those responding to the scene of the crash, included the Tennessee Highway Patrol, Macon County Sheriffs Department, West Macon Rescue, Westmoreland Fire Department, EMS, and the Macon County Chronicle.
The accident was investigated by Trooper Tracy Donoho, Sgt. Ashley Mercer, Trooper Terry Seay, Lt. William “Butch” Avera, with assistance from the Macon County Sheriffs Department.