Louis Tudor’s family wants to help others who are grieving the same way they are.
Tudor’s wife, Jessica, and his four adult children are setting up a foundation called Tudor House, which the family says will be a place to help grief-stricken people and offer suicide prevention services.
The foundation is being created in honor of Tudor, a well-known Roanoke swim coach and longtime owner of Tudor’s Biscuit World, who died by suicide July 1.
Jessica Tudor said she has been overwhelmed with an outpouring of support from people, many whom she doesn’t even know, who want to establish the foundation as a fitting tribute to her husband.
She also has heard many stories of grief from people long silenced because of the difficulty of talking about loved ones who took their own lives.
“There is a stigma,” she said. “So many people have never shared their own stories. So many people want to be included.
Christie Cundiff, a Roanoke mental health counselor and family friend, is helping the Tudors set up their foundation, which has already received nearly $25,000 in donations on a GoFundMe site at https://tinyurl.com/y57y8ozh.
Cundiff said that the plan is for Tudor House to be “a safe space to have grief, loss and prevention of loss services. Other entities are doing that already, and we want to collaborate as a community. So many services are fragmented. We hope we can help provide mental health services for people in times of crisis.”
Last week, Roanoke restaurant Scratch Biscuit Company held a fundraiser in honor of Tudor, who ran his Church Avenue establishment for 27 years until deciding to focus more on coaching swimming in 2012. Scratch donated the sales of “Mountaineer” biscuits, based on an old Tudor recipe of country ham, egg, cheese and a hash brown on a biscuit. Scratch sold 470 biscuits and raised $2,820.
Jessica Tudor said her family’s tragedy has filled her with urgency to help others.
“I’m not the only person dealing with this,” she said. “Never in a million years would I have thought this would happen to my family. But we’re not alone.”
She said that Tudor House will continue her husband’s legacy of service to Roanoke.
“He was such a giver,” Jessica said. “This way, he can just keep giving.”