Thomas Albert “Tommy” Dunford

Thomas Albert “Tommy” Dunford

Tazewell County, Virginia, USA
Death 23 Jul 2017 (aged 60)
Mechanicsville, St. Mary's County, Maryland, USA
Burial Burkes Garden, Tazewell County, Virginia, USA
Memorial ID 181784787 · View Source
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Thomas Albert “Tommy” Dunford of Burke’s Garden died Sunday, July 23, 2017 at Mechanicsville, MD.

Born March 16, 1957 in Tazewell, VA, he was a son of Mary Arlene Dunford Newton of Burke’s Garden, VA and the late Albert Jesse Dunford.

Thomas grew up in Burke’s Garden, graduated from Tazewell High School, and went on to attend Randolph-Macon College and the University of South Alabama. While in Alabama, Thomas sold roofing materials for Lowe’s and decided to enter into the roofing contracting business. Upon his return to Tazewell County, he opened Dunford Roofing Company in 1979, and was president of Dunford Roofing, Inc. as well as general manager of Southwest Roofing, Inc. He also operated the Gas and Guzzle convenience store gas station and the Burke’s Garden General Store. During his thirty-eight years in business, Thomas established a reputation for excellence in the industry. His company earned the elite Master Contractor Award from Firestone Building Products numerous times, in competition with 2,000 companies nationwide. Thomas was also the owner of Dark Horse Racing, and he competed in Top Sportsman, Super Rod, Pro-Mod and bracket racing. Racing was his passion, and he had a reputation in racing circles for being an exciting driver to watch. He was also loved for his thoughtfulness and generosity to his family, friends, employees and members of the racing community. A man of many talents, Thomas also wrote poetry and was a drummer with more than one band. He was unique, and his easy laugh and good humor will be long remembered.

In addition to his father, Thomas was preceded in death by his cousin and former business partner, C.D. Earls, and beloved father figure, Denver Stoker.

In addition to his mother, he is survived by his fiancée and partner of 30 years, Jonni Stoker of Burke’s Garden, VA, her mother, Lou Stoker, her sister, Dana Cochran, and her niece, Amanda Cochran, all of Bramwell, WV; his brother, Bobby Earl Dunford of Tazewell, VA; sister, Rhonda Dunford of Hickory, NC; nephew, Bobby Earl Dunford, Jr. of Alberta Canada, and multiple cousins and other family members.

He is also survived by his Dunford Roofing family of long-time, faithful employees, including his management team of Harold Johnson, John Boutin, Ginger Bogle and Julie Ray, and a large community of racing buddies who meant so much to him for almost forty years, including special friend and teammate, Tommy Plott and lifelong friend, June Carr.

The family will receive friends Saturday, July 29, 2017 from 11 AM until 2 PM at Peery & St. Clair Funeral Home, 111 Ben Bolt Ave, Tazewell, VA where a celebration of life will be conducted at 2 PM.

Burial will follow at Burke’s Garden Central Lutheran Church Cemetery.

Published in the Bluefield Daily Telegraph

Well-known Tazewell County businessman dies in racing accident

Bluefield Daily Telegraph

— A well-known Tazewell County businessman died in a racing accident Sunday night in Maryland.

St. Mary’s County Sheriff Public Information Officer Jennifer Stone confirmed Monday that Thomas Dunford, 60, of Tazewell,
was killed in a crash at the Maryland International Raceway.

Dunford was the president of Dunford Roofing Inc. in Tazewell, Va., and general manager of Southwest Roofing Inc.

Stone said Dunford was participating in a race at the raceway. “For unknown reasons, it appears he failed to activate his brakes or parachute
causing the dragster to travel through the sandpit, water barrels, and into the trees at the end of the track,” Stone said.

Stone said the sheriff’s office responded to the raceway at 8:02 p.m.

According to a report from Southern Maryland News Net, “Witnesses at the track said the ‘dragster’ driven by a Virginia man had just ran a eighth
mile run at just over 4.5 seconds, when the driver never let off the gas after the run.”

Medical emergency personnel pronounced Dunford dead at the scene, Stone said.

The St. Mary’s County Sheriff ’s Office Collision Reconstruction Unit responded to the scene to assist with the investigation.

Tazewell resident Russell Stowers was a long-time friend of Dunford. “I knew him all his life,” Stowers said. “He was a good guy. He lived in Burke’s Garden about all his life. The first time I ever met him he played drums in a band in the old schoolhouse at Burke’s Garden.”

Stowers said Dunford was initially in the gas station business. “He had the Gas and Guzzle,” he said. “The roofing business is at the location of the former gas station.” Dunford also owned the store in Burke’s Garden for many years, Stowers said.

However, Stowers noted, drag racing was a passion for Dunford. “He drag raced for many years … he and his brother both,” Stowers said. “He’d been racing as long as I can remember. That’s all he did was promote drag racing.”

— Contact
Samantha Perry at

Published July 25, 2017 in the Bluefield Daily Telegraph.

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  • Created by: Beverly Aker
  • Added: 26 Jul 2017
  • Find A Grave Memorial 181784787
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Thomas Albert “Tommy” Dunford (16 Mar 1957–23 Jul 2017), Find A Grave Memorial no. 181784787, citing Burkes Garden Central Cemetery, Burkes Garden, Tazewell County, Virginia, USA ; Maintained by Beverly Aker (contributor 46952228) .