Family, friends and strangers gathered in McGonigle Hall on Monday to pay tribute to Terrell Pough, the teenage single father who was murdered on Nov. 17.At the memorial service, many people who knew Pough shared anecdotes and recalled what a responsible father he was to his 2-year-old daughter, Diamond. The service included speeches from his immediate family members as well as community leaders. Many spoke about Pough’s legacy and the lessons he taught them.
“Don’t take life or the people in your life for granted,” said T’Lia McCoy, Pough’s sister. “Because tomorrow is not promised to any of us.”
Also in attendance was Dr. Victoria Yancey, a representative from the Philadelphia School District. Yancey attends every funeral for Philadelphia School District students. Pough attended Houston Elementary School and Germantown High School through 11th grade.
“We stand ready to help [the family],” Yancey said. “Terrell had a good heart, he was special. Whereas he loved his family, his true love was reserved for his daughter, Diamond.”
Diamond Pough celebrated her second birthday last weekend. Terrell was featured in People magazine over the summer for the commitment and determination he displayed to better his life and responsibly raise his daughter.
Damian Webber, a representative from Males Achieving Responsibility Successfully, was Pough’s mentor for the past year. Webber recalled how important it was to Pough to raise his daughter and maintain good grades as a full-time student.
“Terrell isn’t your normal student,” Webber said. “This is a young man who has a burning desire to be the best father on earth.”
Others, such as Anthony Murphy, a representative of Town Watch Integrated Services, used Pough’s death as a call to action for the people of Philadelphia.
“We are here today because of a crisis that exists in our community,” Murphy said. “This crisis is killing young men. … It is time we face up to the responsibility to fight this crisis.”
Iman Suetwedien Muhammad, who led the service, urged the end of violence on the streets.
“This is a campaign, and this is the kickoff,” Muhammad said.
Patricia Radzo, the principal of Germantown High School, said she admired Pough for the responsibilities he had taken as a student and a father.
“His baby loved him,” Radzo said. “Terrell was one of my babies when I first started getting into the administrative role at Germantown High School. Terrell was an awesome, powerful, responsible, young black man who was going somewhere. And he made it.”
State Rep. Dwight Evans (D., Phila.) was also in attendance. Evans did not know Pough personally but said he understands the grief of Pough’s family.
“The murderer who did this will be courted,” Evans said. “Unfortunately, that will never bring back Diamond’s father.”
More than 60 schoolmates and faculty from the Youth Build Charter School attended the memorial. Pough was scheduled to graduate from the school in June. Some friends wore shirts with images of Pough and his daughter saying, “In Loving Memory of Fallen Soldier,” or “Gone but Never Forgotten.”
During one part of the service, members in attendance were able to reflect on Pough’s life. Friends, community activists and strangers touched by Pough’s story shared their thoughts.
“He was one of the pillars in my life I could count on,” said a friend of Pough’s.
Pough was shot outside of his house earlier this month. His family said that Pough was not robbed, but a car that was donated to him after he appeared in People is missing. Philadelphia police have no suspects, but continue to get new leads.
Chris Stover can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.