Mom-to-be was about to begin new job, wanted to help

Published 1:27 am Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Derriunna Gantt’s family wants her to be remembered as the loud, funny, outgoing person that she was.

Gantt and her unborn daughter died late Saturday as a result of injuries sustained in a car accident six miles west of Elba. She was 20 years old.

“She was loud, funny, caring, outgoing,” Gantt’s sister Ali Pate said. “She was different, she was just Derriunna.”

Hours before the wreck, Gantt had a gender reveal party for her unborn child. Her sister said the party was perfect. 

“It was honestly perfect,” Pate said. “She got to do what she loved to do, which is pitch a softball. She wanted a little boy, but she got a little girl, so she wasn’t the most excited but she accepted it. It was so fun, all of her friends and family were there and it was just perfect.”

Gantt played softball at Straughn, and had a sports-themed reveal party. She wore a T-shirt with question marks in a softball and a baseball that read “Mom loves you.”

Gantt was supposed to start a new job at the nursing home in Elba two days after she passed away. Pate said that the job was in keeping with her sister’s goals and ambitions in life, including helping people.

“She just liked helping people,” Pate said. “So anything with healing and helping people that’s what she wanted to do. At one point she wanted to do occupational therapy or physical therapy. She was determined to do one or the other. She was so happy that she was going to start this job.”

Pate said that all of Gantt’s friends would describe her as the life of the party.

“She was always the life of the party to her friends and she would always give the best advice,” Pate said. “Her smile could change their mood, because she had the biggest smile.”

Pate said that if she had the chance to speak with Gantt again, she would say the same thing that she said to her the last time they spoke.

“If we were face to face again, I don’t think there would be a ‘last thing’ that I would say to her,” Pate said. “Just because I talked to her every single day. So, we never have just one last thing. I got to tell her that I loved her and to be careful, just like I tell her every time we talk. So, I would probably just say the same thing again.”

A GoFundMe has been set up in honor of Gantt by her classmates from Straughn High School, which has already raised $1,715 in two days. Their original goal was only $1,000.

Gantt’s family will have a candle light vigil on Thursday at 7:30 p.m., at her mother’s house.

Her wake will be Friday from 3 p.m., until 8 p.m., at Coleman’s Funeral Home in Elba. The funeral will be at Westview Baptist in Opp on Saturday at 1 p.m.