When enraged, water gives no quarter. The rains of May 1 and 2 caught at least nine Nashville residents in the wrong place at the wrong time, exposed to the fury of a storm unprecedented in the city’s recorded history.
Those who died in the floodwaters represented a cross-section of Nashville’s population both geographically and demographically. The young and the old, the well-off and those of modest means, homeowners from elite neighborhoods and renters with working-class addresses — all fell victim to nature’s wrath.
The fatalities confirmed by press time were:
Joshua Heath Landtroop, 21, a server at the Olive Garden on Bell Road in Antioch. He had been studying at Middle Tennessee State University to become a teacher, while also helping his wife raise their two sons.
Landtroop tried to walk to his home on Valley Way, some 2.5 miles away, after his shift finished Saturday night, May 1. He was apparently swept away. Two boys found his body on Sunday in a baseball field that backs up to Mill Creek on Blue Hole Road.
Friends have left online tributes to Landtroop that recall him as a “one in a million young man” who enjoyed dance club outings and star-gazing.
Billy F. Rutledge, 70, and his wife, Mary Frances “Frankie” Rutledge, 65, of 1619 Graybar Lane near Green Hills. The Rutledges apparently showed up for services at St. George’s Episcopal Church on Sunday morning, May 2, not knowing worship had been canceled because the previous day’s flooding had badly damaged the facility, located at 4715 Harding Pike. They then drove down Harding into the rising waters of Richland Creek.
Parishioners became concerned when the couple’s car was found, empty, on the side of Harding Pike. On Monday, church members traced the creek back down past the church to the point where it flows under the Belle Meade Kroger supermarket. There they found both bodies.
Billy Rutledge was a graduate of DuPont High who earned an undergraduate degree at Vanderbilt University in 1967. A Vietnam veteran, he had a long career in insurance sales. Frankie Rutledge was a career employee with a trucking company before retirement.
Bessie E. and Joseph T. Formosa Jr., 78 and 88 years old, respectively. They perished on May 2 while trying to get away from their flooding home at 8919 Sawyer Brown Road, in the hard-hit River Plantation subdivision. Rescuers found them in their overturned car not far from the house.
Joseph Formosa had been a vice president of Joseph Formosa & Sons Inc., a longtime Nashville produce wholesaler. He was a 1939 graduate of Father Ryan High School and a World War II veteran. Bessie Formosa had retired from the former Commerce Union Bank.
Mary Jane McCormack, 86. She was found inside her inundated home on Sawyer Brown Road in River Plantation.
Robert Woods, 74, of West Hamilton Avenue in Bordeaux. The authorities believe he was in his yard when the waters carried him away.
Andrew J. England, 78, and Martha England, 80. Their bodies were found inside their home, at 908 Delray Drive in west Nashville, after Sunday’s storms.
The death toll could still rise. Late last week, search teams were looking for two men who went missing during the storms.