Saragossa firefighter to be laid to rest

By ED HOWELL
Posted 12/5/18

Assistant Saragossa Fire Chief John D. Wells of Jasper died after a sudden illness on Sunday. He was 70. Richard Fikes, the head of the Walker County Firefighters Association, said a full …

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Saragossa firefighter to be laid to rest

Posted

Assistant Saragossa Fire Chief John D. Wells of Jasper died after a sudden illness on Sunday. He was 70. 

Richard Fikes, the head of the Walker County Firefighters Association, said a full traditional firemen's salute will be given today as part of funeral activities. 

“He’s been a long-time fireman out at Saragossa,” Fikes said. “He’s always been real supportive of the fire department out there. He had taken over recently as interim chief.” 

Fikes said he understood Wells was diagnosed only recently with illness, noting that he was attending the association meetings up through September or October. 

“I didn’t know he was that bad. I didn’t get a chance to talk to him,” Fikes said. “I felt bad about it.” 

Wells was heavily involved at the fire department, he said. “He did a great job. He was always supportive of the association and he helped us when he could,” Fikes said.

He recalled that the association has a repeater, or antenna site, at Saragossa. “He would keep the grass cut and look after it,” he said. 

Visitation will be held today from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at New Prospect Baptist Church, followed by a funeral there at 1 p.m. The burial will be held at Samaria Cemetery. Members of the Saragossa Volunteer Fire Department will serve as pallbearers, with firefighters from other local fire departments serving as honorary pallbearers. 

Fikes said Wells “will have what I call a firefighter’s funeral, from the standpoint all the firefighters will be there tomorrow for the funeral. It is at Prospect Baptist on Highway 5. We will have a procession that goes over to Samaria Baptist Church off Industrial Boulevard. That is where he will actually be buried.

“We will do the last call, where they actually activate his pager for Saragossa,” he said. He is checking on whether a flyover will be possible.

He is survived by his wife, Joni Wells; Children, Anna Wells and her fiancé Riley Shelnutt, Joseph Lowe, Chris Lowe and Jeremy Lowe; grandchildren, Kendall Lowe and Rylee Lowe; brothers, Edward Wells (Mary), Sam Wells (Jean); special family members Margaret Swann; “little sister,” Linda Sanford and a host of nieces, nephews and their spouses and friends.