Family and friends said goodbye to fallen firefighter Horace Christopher “Teddy” Pendergrass at the Zion Baptist Church on Thursday morning.
Hundreds of Fairfax County Firefighters and firefighters from as far as New York came to pay their respects. Pendergrass, 49, was a 21-year veteran of the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department.
Pendergrass passed away on Saturday at the Crosspointe Fire Station in Fairfax Station. The cause of his death is under investigation, though he is believed to have died of natural causes.
Pendergrass leaves behind his two daughters, Christian Adams and Tierra Pendergrass, and his son, Horace Christopher Junior, according to his obituary published for his funeral service.
Pendergrass grew up in Norfolk, Virginia. After graduating high school, he earned an athletic scholarship to Elizabeth City State University. After graduation, Pendergrass was signed as a free agent with the New England Patriots, but was injured and released, according to his obituary. Pendergrass went on to enlist in the United States Army.
Pendergrass joined the Fairfax County Fire Department in 1990.
Chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Sharon Bulova and Fire Chief Ronald Mastin were among those who spoke at Pendergrass’ private funeral service. His casket was draped in an American flag and rested on the bed of a fire truck.
Many left condolences online at http://www.fairfaxfirefighters.org, where those who knew him remarked that he was a “gentle giant” who was “truly a great person, gentle and kind.”
Pendergrass was laid to rest at Quantico National Cemetery.