A DeKalb County school and community, still reeling from the horrific holiday traffic death of a well-known family, will say goodbye as the family is laid to rest this week. Hundreds of people took time to celebrate the Mallet family during a special candlelight prayer vigil on Sunday.
Stephenson Middle School students say it will be tough returning to school next week with loss of their classmate Andrew “Drew” Mallet and his mother, school administrative assistant, Jacqueline “Jackie” Mallet. Drew was a well-liked 7th grader of Stephenson Middle School. Students who shared classes with Drew say he always had a way of making people smile and his fun spirit will be missed.
Father Ainsworth Mallet was driving the family home on the New Jersey Turnpike on Thursday, Dec. 27 when their Toyota Camry was crushed between two tractor-trailers. 51-year-old Ainsworth, 49-year-old Jackie and 12-year-old Drew were all pronounced dead at the scene. Drew’s 18-year-old sister, Nikki, was the only survivor with minor injuries.
The people, who packed the front door area of Stephenson Middle School on Sunday, huddled together in the cold holding candles to remember the special bond the Mallet family had with the DeKalb community. The massive public response to Stephenson Middle School PSTA’s quickly organized Candlelight Prayer Vigil is a testimony in itself to the impact the Mallet family had on the community. With tears in their eyes, speakers told stories of their relationship with Ainsworth and Jackie Mallet as neighbors, good friends and popular restaurant owners with big hearts.
The front doors of the family’s seven year old Jamaican restaurant, Golden Krust Caribbean Bakery and Grill, located on Rockbridge Road in Lithonia, was turned into a flower memorial by family and patrons paying their respects. Nikki, the surviving family daughter, often worked at the restaurant with her father.
While emotional for many, the crowd at Stephenson Middle focused their memories on the celebration of the Mallet family as a wonderful example of “hard-work and dedication”.
A public viewing for the Mallet family will be held Friday, Jan. 4 from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Gregory B. Levett and Sons Funeral Home located on 4347 Flat Shoals Parkway in Decatur. A wake service will also be held from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m.
The funeral will take place Saturday, Jan. 5 at 11 a.m. at Tabernacle Assembly of God at 1580 Agape way in Decatur.