Family and friends will gather today to mourn the loss of a mother, a father and their son -- all of whom were killed in a vehicle crash Monday afternoon.
William Gatesy Jr., 55, was driving the family's 2013 Ford Explorer on I-94 in Calhoun County, which is east of Grand Rapids, when it left the freeway and slammed into a tree at about 3:30 p.m.
His 53-year-old wife, Dawn Gatesy, and their 28-year-old son, William Gatesy III, also died in the crash. All three were from Allen Park.
Police are investigating the cause of the crash, specifically whether a medical emergency played a role.
Dawn worked for 16 years as a paraprofessional for Wyandotte Public Schools. She was stationed at Wilson Middle School where she helped special education students.
In 2012, she was one of 14 district employees honored with an outstanding staff award.
The elder William, who went by the nickname "Gator," was a retired Allen Park Department of Public Service worker. He also was a referee with the Michigan Amateur Hockey Association.
Their son, known to friends as Billy, loved bingo, was an avid Michigan State University fan, enjoyed decorating for the holidays and always had a good time doing whatever he was doing.
Visitation is set for 5 to 8 p.m. Thursday and 2 to 8 p.m. Friday at The Martenson Funeral Home, 10915 Allen Road, Allen Park. The funeral is 11 a.m. Saturday at Allen Park Presbyterian Church, 7101 Park Ave. Interment will be at Michigan Memorial Park Cemetery in Huron Township.
Friends of the family have set up an online account for those wishing to help with funeral expenses. As of midnight Thursday, $18,200 had been collected.
Memorial contributions also can be made payable to The Gatesy Memorial Fund at any River's Edge Community Credit Union branch.
Dozens of heartfelt tributes have been posted to the family's online obituary page.
Gina Tomblin writes: "I am still in shock! The Gatesy's were great people! Little Billy was such a character that could always make me laugh! I will miss you all and I will be praying for your family and friends that have been left behind."
Daniel Straksys writes: "Mrs. Gatesy you were a wonderful teacher at Wilson. I was sad when I heard today at Jo Brighton about the family tragedy. You will be greatly missed. God bless you and your husband and son. I will pray for your daughters and surviving family."