DURHAM, N.C.(WNCN) — Friends and family gathered at noon Saturday for a Celebration of Life in honor of Dolores “Dede” Anne Wakefield, 41, of Chapel Hill, who died when her car was hit from behind as part of a chain-reaction crash on I-540 near Leesville Road August 8.
The service was held at Holy Infant Catholic Church located at 5000 Southpark Drive in Durham.
Wakefield was killed while she was trying to stop for a jackknifed tractor trailer ahead of her on I-540 near Leesville Road around 8:30 p.m. – several hours after a series of wrecks caused traffic problems on I-540.
The driver that hit Wakefield, Brittaney Lowe-McGregor of Raleigh, has been charged with misdemeanor death by motor vehicle.
Troopers say Wakefield was pronounced dead at the scene.
“It’s just so heartbreaking because I know how much she loved her family and her nephew and her niece that was just born,” said friend, Kristin Radford.
A GoFundMe account set up in Wakefield’s honor raised more than $10,000 for funeral expenses and her family.
The page, created by Wakefield’s friend Christy Pruden, says, “The money raised will help us to plan and give her the best Celebration of Life… and will also be used to set up Trust funds for her beloved niece and nephew who she loved with all of her heart.”
Almost as much as she loved her family, Wakefield loved her job.
She worked as a promotions director at Curtis Media Group, a perfect outlet for her love for country music.
“She devoted a lot of time toward work, a lot of late hours and didn’t need recognition for it, didn’t need credit for it. She just did it because she loved what she did,” coworker Joel Gillie said.
Wakefield’s family delivered a statement, saying in part, “She will be forever remembered for her selflessness in giving to others, her enduring love of her friends and family, her passion for her job and (WQDR) family, and her ability to capture the best of everyone she encountered from behind the lens of her camera.”
The GoFundMe page in Wakefield’s honor can be found at https://www.gofundme.com/2jbae78.