Man loses home in Monday fire

Man loses home in Monday fire

A Cottondale man lost everything in a fire that destroyed his mobile home Monday morning.

Total Loss

TOTAL LOSS – Eighty-six-year-old James Thresher lost his home, along with two vehicles, a boat and a motorcycle in a fire Monday morning. Boyd and Cottondale volunteer firefighters worked to douse the flames. Messenger photo by Jimmy Alford

James Thresher, 86, suffered no injuries when he ran out of his house on County Road 3592 after he saw smoke in his living room.

James Thresher

“I was in the living room, and the power went out,” he said as he watched firefighters from Cottondale, Boyd and Paradise extinguish the fire around 11 a.m. “I checked the breaker at the back of the house, and when I couldn’t find anything wrong, I walked back to the living room, and that was when I saw the smoke fill the room. That was when I knew I needed to get out.”

Thresher shared the home with his son, Harvey, who arrived shortly after the first responders. Thresher said he had lived in the home for more than 40 years.

“I’m fine. I just coughed up some black smoke once it started – it just happened so quick,” he said.

Bill Shimmel, an associate pastor at the First Baptist Church in Cottondale, was also on the scene. Thresher goes to church there, not too far from his home.

Shimmel said the church will start taking donations to help the Threshers in their time of need.

Deputy Fire Marshal J.C. Travis said an electrical short in the breaker caused the fire.

“The short reached the breaker, and then it spread throughout the house,” he said. “It was definitely an accident.”

Travis said Thresher didn’t have insurance on the mobile home, which was built in 1974. Thresher stopped insuring the home about seven years ago once payments got too high.

“We’re lucky he had a hydrant right in his front yard,” Travis said. “You hardly ever see that out here.”

This is the fourth house fire in Wise County so far this year, in addition to the myriad of grass fires that have sprung up around the county. For tips on safe outdoor burning, read this Messenger article from Jan. 21:

To donate money or other items to the Threshers, contact First Baptist Church Cottondale at 940-433-5539 or at

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Treva M. Roberts

Treva M. Roberts

Treva M. Roberts, 90, of Cottondale, died Sunday, July 27, 2014.

Funeral is 10 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 2, at Friendship Baptist Church in Boyd, with burial at 1:30 p.m. at Mount Olivet Cemetery in Fort Worth.

Visitation is 6 to 8 p.m. Friday at Mount Olivet Funeral Home.

Treva was born June 3, 1924, in Hill City, Kan. She was preceded in death by her parents, Altha and Robert Moore; husband Walter T. Roberts; and siblings, Ruth Addy, Darlene “Dolly” Hughes and Violet Baxley.

Survivors include her sons, Gerald (Jerry) Ingersoll, Allan (Kelly) Ingersoll and wife, Carolyn, Darrell (Buster) Ingersoll and wife, Danita, and Patrick Ingersoll and wife, Dorlinda; grandchildren Dawn Ingersoll Hall and husband, Larry, Donovan Ingersoll and wife, Mitra, Kelly Don Ingersoll and wife, Monica, Kevin Ingersoll, Summer Ingersoll, Lacy Ingersoll, Shane Sanders, Misti Ingersoll Tuck and husband, Don, Patrick Ingersoll, Rainie Ingersoll and Stormie Ingersoll; several great-grandchildren; siblings Roberta Haney, Betty Myles, Richard Moore; and other loving relatives.

The family extends special thanks to Wanda and Richard Long for opening their hearts and home in caring for “Gramma.”

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Blind vision: Woman seeks to build community among the visually impaired

It may not be through her eyes, but Telena Graham of Cottondale has a vision.

After losing her sight 15 months ago, the 47-year-old former interior decorator has a yearning to help others who face the same struggles she does.

PERSONAL PREFERENCE – Depsite the advice of most doctors, Telena Graham prefers the “rolly cane” over the straight cane. “It seems real asinine that they’ve got something tapping over stuff when you could roll over something and catch it,” she said. “I really want to push to change this, because it makes more sense to me.” Messenger photo by Joe Duty

“There are so many people out there that’s got it worse than me,” she said. “I’m just blind. But don’t tell me I can’t see, because I’ve got a hell of a vision.”

That vision includes establishing a group where the visually impaired can gather for fellowship, game nights, fundraisers and support.

The Wise County transplant fears that if she doesn’t obtain some sort of help, she’ll be forced to move back to the Metroplex, where she lived before moving to this area 16 years ago.

“But we don’t want that,” she said. “My husband and I built our dream house out here. We love it out here. I just need some help.”

It isn’t necessarily help doing household chores or running errands.

“I can do just about anything,” she said. “I don’t like the word ‘disabled.’ I don’t like anybody telling me I’m disabled. I’m not disabled. I just do things differently now I just have to learn a different way to do it.”

What she lacks is the support and understanding of others in similar situations.

“I want to be a part of helping to end this feeling because I know others have to be feeling it, too,” she said. “It feels like a prison, and I want out.”


Graham hasn’t always been blind. It wasn’t until 2009 that her eye troubles began.

Graham’s husband Bill, a self-employed engineer, had always kept health insurance on the family. But as a way to save money when the economy tanked, Telena dropped their policies.

“Me and my bright idea, we’re all so healthy,” she said.

But that suddenly changed. She was faux painting cabinets for a client when she started having double vision – so she visited an eye specialist.

“He said, ‘You’re really healthy, you’re young. You don’t seem to have any other things going on. I don’t think we need to do an MRI since you don’t have insurance,'” she recalled. “So he gives me these trifocals and sends me on my way.”

That fall, Telena visited her son in New York.

“I started having numbness on the right side of my face,” she recalled. “I was still having some vision issues, but I thought I just needed to get used to the glasses.”

Still, something didn’t feel right so when she returned from her trip she visited her doctor, who scheduled an MRI for Dec. 3, 2010.

After the procedure, Telena and Bill stopped to do some shopping before heading home.

LIBERATING CONTRAST – Telena Graham of Cottondale sits behind her dark-stained banister that once was painted a lighter color. After going blind 15 months ago, she painted her colorful walls a plain beige and the banister a chocolate brown after discovering how contrasting colors enable those with even a hint of vision to see more. On a metaphorical level, the banister can be seen as imprisoning the once active mother and wife. “With all this happening to me, it’s like I’m in prison out here,” she said. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

“I was in line paying for my new ornaments because I’m a big decorator. At Christmas I decorate my whole house,” she recalled. “And my doctor keeps calling me. I wasn’t thinking anything really serious or anything. I called him right back and he asked if Bill was with me.

“I told him he was, and he said, ‘I know I closed at noon, but I want you and your husband to get back over here as soon as you can.'”

The MRI revealed a massive tumor pushing on her brain stem.

“The doctor said that it was a miracle that I hadn’t already died or had a stroke or something,” Telena recalled.

Because she didn’t have insurance, the doctor sent her straight to the emergency room at Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital in Fort Worth, where she sat for four days unattended by a doctor.

“The nurses were super,” Telena said. “But this neurosurgeon, because I didn’t have insurance, wasn’t in any hurry to see me When she finally decides to see me, this neurosurgeon comes in and she goes, ‘Yeah. You’ve got a pretty good brain tumor. If you don’t have something done with it soon, you’re going to die, have a stroke or go blind. But it’s voluntary.’

“‘When you get insurance, come back and see me.'”

Telena left the hospital and sought a second opinion – depleting the family’s savings as she tried to figure out what to do. She even applied for charity help at M.D. Anderson Medical Center in Houston. But was denied because of her husband’s earnings.

“By the grace of God, somebody told us about the preexisting condition insurance through Obamacare,” she said. “I got that insurance, and that saved my life. That’s the only reason I’m sitting here today.”

In Dallas, she consulted a doctor who confirmed the tumor’s size and risk. However, he didn’t seem convinced of the need to remove it. Finally, she visited a neurosurgeon at M.D. Anderson who agreed to do surgery.

“He said he’s got a wife about 40 years old, and if it was him, he would do the surgery,” Telena said. “So I said, ‘OK, let’s roll.'”


On Feb. 24, 2011, surgeons removed 70 percent of the tumor. Because the last 30 percent is wrapped around her cavernous sinus, doctors opted to do proton radiation therapy, also in Houston, to try and eradicate it.

She underwent that procedure around the holidays of that same year.

“They made a mask that fit on my face, and it bolted to the table,” she said. “I had to wear it every day, Monday through Friday, for six weeks. They had to give me anxiety medicine because it was very traumatic for me.”

But she made it through and came home.

Unable to feel much on her right side, Telena managed to tear her cornea.

“Even though one of my eyes was very blurry, I never even once had the thought of losing my vision,” she said. “I still had my left eye. It was great.”

Then on Feb. 2, 2013, during a baby shower she was hosting for her daughter, it happened.

“I’m sitting in the living room. We’ve got it all decorated with lambs and baby stuff everywhere, because, oh, I went all-out for my grandbaby. All of a sudden,” she snaps her fingers, “lights just went out.

“I’m scared to death. I’m sitting here going ‘OK, be cool, be cool. Don’t ruin this for your daughter.’ I called a friend over and asked her to help me. She played it off.”

Telena rushed to a neuro-ophthalmologist, who said her optic nerve had been damaged by radiation.

“I call the radiologist, and apparently I’m one in a 1,000 that this happens to,” she said. “My eyes are fine. It’s my optic nerve that got damaged. So did my pituitary gland because they’re right there next to each other. So not only am I a hormonal crazy woman, I’m a blind crazy woman.”

She laughed. “Not really. I haven’t been that bad.”

Doctors tried hyperbaric oxygen treatments – 56 of them – to no effect. Then they tried steroid infusions, but those didn’t work either. They attempted avastin chemotherapy, also to no avail.


Before losing her vision, Telena was always on the go.

“I loved big trucks, loved sports car,” she said. “I’m a car fanatic. I had a Ford F-250 Super Duty with a 6-inch lift kit. I cruised around town in it; that’s just the way I was. I had a Corvette, and I loved to be out. I was never home. I was always doing interior design jobs or faux painting or planning events.

“With all this happening to me, it’s like I’m in prison out here,” she said.

But she’s hoping to change that by starting a “blind community.”

“I’d like to find friendship; I’d like to find companionship between the blind community,” she said. “I’d like to do things for the kids; it’s fun There’s just all kinds of things I could see us doing.”

From painting Christmas ornaments for a fundraiser, to outlining with Puffy Paint the numbers on BINGO for a blind-friendly version of the game, to blind bowling to organizing a self-defense class and even a support group for spouses and loved ones of the blind – she has plenty of ideas.

“There’s a lot of things we could get our hands into,” she said. “I’m not scared to try anything once, and if we like it we’ll do it again.”

The group could also share tips and advice. Even though she’s been without her vision for only a year, Telena has a couple of crucial pointers to share – like how painting with contrasting colors enables those with even a hint of vision to see more, and why she prefers the the “rolly cane” over the straight cane most doctors recommend.

“I hate the straight cane,” she said. “The straight cane tells everybody, ‘Geez, she’s blind’ because you tap, tap, tap. Well I was tap-tap-tapping, and there’s a curb, and I tapped right over it. I would’ve busted my face if it wouldn’t have been for my husband.

“The cane with the rolly ball would’ve caught that. I don’t understand why a straight cane that you tap is better than a rolly cane that you slide in front of you because it picks up more than the tap-tap cane … I really want to push to change this, because it makes more sense to me.

“It seems real asinine that they’ve got something tapping over stuff when you could roll over something and catch it.”

Rounding up a group of people to share that kind of advice would be therapeutic not only for the physical ailment, but for emotional reasons as well.

“People are my drug,” Telena said. “I love people. I love to be around people. I feed off of people. It gives me my life back basically, being around people.

“And you know, I just want to help people.”

She admits she hasn’t always felt this driven.

“I went through my stages. I’m not going to lie to you – I still have my good days; I still have my bad days,” she said. “But every day I wake up, I thank God I’m still here.”

And while she’s here she wants to live fully.

“I’m tired of just existing,” she said. “That’s why I’ve reached out I want to create something that makes us feel like we belong, to share and help each other. A place to be comfort. A home away from home. I feel like it’s something I’m meant to do.”


Telena Graham, who lost her vision 15 months ago, is looking to build community with others who have gone blind. She envisions meet and greets, game nights, fundraisers for research, dances and discussions.

If you or someone you know would be interested in participating or helping, contact her at 817-988-0478 or

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3 injured in 2-vehicle wreck

Three men were injured in a two-vehicle accident about 7:45 a.m. Wednesday morning in Cottondale.

Kerry Rivers, 26, of Fort Worth was driving a pickup on County Road 3555 and failed to yield at the intersection with Farm Road 2123, pulling out in front of another pickup.

Vehicle Damage

VEHICLE DAMAGE – The front, left side of this pickup was damaged after it pulled out in front of another pickup in Cottondale early Wednesday morning. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

Department of Public Safety Trooper Bobby Marquez said Rivers’ pickup hit the front, right side of the vehicle traveling on 2123, which was driven by Dustin Campbell, 22, of Paradise.

Rivers and his passenger, Josh McEntire, 24, were transported by ground ambulance to Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital in Fort Worth.

Campbell was transported to Wise Regional Health System in Decatur.

Marquez said their injuries were not life-threatening.

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Suspicious device discovered at dump

A suspected bomb found at a county dump site this week turned out to be a dud.

An item that resembled a homemade bomb was dropped off at Wise County’s Cottondale dump site just before 5 p.m. Thursday. Fire Marshal Chuck Beard said it was a “dummy,” made from an aluminum can with screws and wires attached to it but lacking components that would have made it explode.

The device was left at the dump by a woman who was dropping off trash and said the object had “been rolling around in the back of her pickup for a while.” Beard said after she tossed it in with her trash, the dump attendant removed it and put it to the side, calling 911.

The Sheriff’s Office, Cottondale Fire Department and medics were dispatched to the scene at 6465 FM 2123, about two miles west of the Cottondale store.

Beard said Sheriff’s Department officers discharged a shotgun to detonate the device before he arrived.

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Charlotte M. Newsome

Charlotte M. Newsome

Charlotte M. Newsome, 56, a loving daughter, sister, aunt and cousin, formerly of Cottondale, died Sunday, Jan. 12, 2014.

Funeral is 2 p.m. Friday, Jan. 17, at White’s Azle Chapel with burial at Cottondale Cemetery. Visitation is noon to 2 p.m. Friday at White’s Azle Funeral Home.

Charlotte was born Aug. 26, 1957, in Fort Worth to Charles Preston and Carol Ann Newsome. She graduated from Springtown High School and attended Weatherford College for a year. Charlotte worked for Lockheed Martin for 13 years.

She loved life and her dogs. Charlotte had a lot of spirit and often spoke her mind. Even though she was short, she stood very tall.

She was preceded in death by her baby daughter, Brandi; sister Sherry Newsome; and father Charles Newsome.

Survivors include her mother, Carol Newsome; sisters Shana Noe and husband, Ricky, and Shelly Howard and husband, Alton; cousin Kevin Smith and wife, Toi; nephews Shawn Noe and wife, Tracy, Chad Noe and wife, Kyndle, and Dason Howard; niece Sasha Wheeler and husband, John; her four-legged babies, Sasha and Gizmo; and eight great-nieces and nephews.

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Walter L. McConnell

Walter L. McConnell

Walter L. McConnell, 76, died Saturday, Dec, 14, 2013, surrounded by his family at his home in Cottondale.

Funeral is 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, Dec. 18, at Mount Olivet Chapel in Fort Worth, and burial will follow at Mount Olivet Cemetery. Johnny Luckie will play bagpipes, and grandsons Justin, Jake, Joey, Jordan and Ryder McConnell, and Blake Howard will serve as pallbearers.

Honorary pallbearers are granddaughters Amy and Amber McConnell and Charles Nowell, David Polson and Hank Feighner.

Walter was born Aug. 14, 1937, in Mansfield, La., to Walter F. and Roberta (Nealy) McConnell. He moved to Fort Worth in 1951 and was a graduate of Amon Carter High School.

Walter worked at General Dynamics prior to joining the Fort Worth Fire Department in 1965. He retired from the Fort Worth Fire Department in 1996.

Walter proudly served his country in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve for six years. During all those years he had a construction business with his sons. Walter enjoyed hunting and fishing,

He was preceded in death by his parents, W.F. and Roberta McConnell; brother Gordon McConnell; and sons Ted and Clay McConnell.

Walter is survived by his wife of 57 years, Nancy; son Leslie McConnell of Cottondale; daughter Jill Saulter and husband, Wade, of Keller; sister Sarah Luckie of Haltom City; eight grandchildren; seven great-grandchildren; one great-great-grandchild; and numerous nieces and nephews.

To visit an online memorial, go to

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Fire temporarily displaces family

A Cottondale family has been temporarily displaced after fire ravaged part of their mobile home Monday afternoon.

Action by the homeowner, who hosed down the fire from the outside, and a quick response from the Cottondale, Paradise and Springtown fire departments contained the fire to a middle bedroom. But Wise County Deputy Fire Marshal J.C. Travis said the home wasn’t inhabitable because of smoke damage.

Home Saved

HOME SAVED – Quick action by Cottondale, Paradise and Springtown fire departments contained a mobile home fire to one room Monday afternoon. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

He added electricity could not be turned on for the home until it was cut from the room where the fire started.

The fire in the 1500 block of County Road 3791, south of Cottondale, was reported around 5 p.m. by a child, who was inside the house when it started. The homeowner, Alan Weaver, said he had stepped outside and his three grandsons – ages 11, 8 and 5 – were inside playing video games when the smoke alarms started going off.

Weaver opened the door to the bedroom to find it filled with smoke.

According to Travis, the fire started in an outlet that a fan and cell phone charger were plugged into. The plugs were sandwiched against the wall by a mattress and box spring.

Travis believes one of the two items failed, causing the mattress to smolder for about an hour before it burst into flames.

“All that physically burned was the mattress,” Travis said. “But there was some radiating heat damage to adjacent rooms and smoke damage throughout the house.”

The boys ran outside and called for help as their grandfather attempted to hose the fire down. The first units to check on scene reported smoke from the rear of the mobile home. The fire was quickly contained, and all that burned was the middle bedroom.

Red Cross was dispatched to assist the family living in the home, which includes Weaver, his wife, Petra, his stepson and three grandsons. There were no injuries.

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Sherron Ann Rycroft Foster

Sherron Ann Rycroft Foster, 66, of Cottondale, died Thursday, Nov. 14, 2013, at home. Memorial service is 11 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 23, at Cottondale Baptist Church. Sherri was born March 19, 1947, in Sweetwater to Sarah (Daniels) and James Rycroft. She graduated from Sweetwater Newman High School in 1965. Shortly after graduation she met Robert “Chip” Foster, who was an airman stationed at Avenger Field. It was love at first sight, which lasted almost 50 years.

Sherri was diagnosed with colon cancer in October 2012. She began “killing beasties” with a vengeance. Together she and Chip vowed to fight and never give up. Each doctor’s visit was full of good news that the cancer was shrinking.

In July 2013, Chip was unexpectedly diagnosed with terminal lung and brain cancer, turning the tide and Sherri having to become his strength and caregiver. She selflessly gave up her chemo treatment so that their time left together would be quality time. In seven short weeks, on Sept. 4, 2013, Chip was gone.

Although the family had supported Sherri’s decision to stop her treatment, the cancer was not as forgiving and spread rapidly throughout her body. She soon left this earth to be united with him once again.

She was a wonderful mother to Kirk and Brooke Foster and all her four-legged babies she rescued throughout her life. She and Chip ran a family cabinet/carpentry business in Cottondale, together with their daughter Brooke and son-in-law Scott Hall. Her last four years were filled with extra sunshine and happiness by the gift of a beautiful grandson, Mason. She was his “TuTu,” and he was her “Miracle Child.” She also treasured her grandson Coleman.

Sherri is survived by her daughter Brooke Hall and husband, Scott, of Cottondale; grandson Mason Hall of Cottondale; grandson Coleman Foster and his mother Leigh Angela Foster of Kansas; her “little sis” Joyce Cole and husband, Marvin; niece Melissa Cole and daughter, Taylan; nephew Phillip Cole, wife Casey and son Cannon; special cousins Sandra and Sherman Cox, Leonard and Frankie Womack and the California bunch.

She was preceded in death by the love of her life Chip; her parents; son Kirk Foster; and cousin Vickie Lacey.

Donations may be made in her honor to the Hall Family, P.O. Box 395, Boyd, TX 76023.

Jones Family Funeral Home in Bridgeport is handling arrangements.

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No injuries, but 1 arrest, in wreck

No injuries, but 1 arrest, in wreck

A Poolville man was arrested for driving while intoxicated after he caused a three-vehicle wreck Thursday night near Cottondale.

Department of Public Safety Trooper Beau Bridgeman said Makaylyn Wolff, 17, of Springtown was stopped in the northbound lane of Farm Road 51 waiting to turn left onto Farm Road 2123 around 6:40 when her sport utility vehicle was struck from behind by a pickup driven by Casey Doyle Smith, 44, of Poolville.

Close Call

CLOSE CALL – Despite being hit by two different vehicles, a Springtown teen in this sports utility vehicle was not injured in Thursday’s wreck. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

The impact pushed Wolff’s vehicle into the southbound lane of FM 51 where it was struck a second time by a southbound pickup driven by Jordan Crittenden, 26, of Springtown.

Meanwhile, Smith’s pickup ran off the road and through a fence on the west side of the roadway.

Two ambulances, a rescue vehicle, Boyd and Cottondale fire departments and numerous law enforcement agencies responded to the scene. It was initially feared that several people were injured in the wreck, but amazingly no one was seriously hurt. No one was even transported to a hospital.

Smith was taken to the Wise County Jail and charged with driving while intoxicated. He remained in jail with bail set at $2,500 Friday afternoon.

The wreck had FM 51 shut down for about an hour and down to one lane for about another half-hour as the scene was cleared.


ARRESTED – Casey Doyle Smith is placed under arrest for driving while intoxicated by Texas Department of Public Safety Trooper Tim Murphy at the scene of Thursday’s wreck. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

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Robert ‘Chip’ Foster

Robert “Chip” Foster

Memorial service for Robert “Chip” Foster, 66, of Cottondale is 2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 14, at the First Baptist Church of Cottondale.

Chip died Wednesday, Sept. 4, 2013, at his home, surrounded by his loving family and his beloved dogs. His memorial will be attended by the North Texas Honor Guard, Patriot Guard Riders, Cottondale Volunteer Fire Department, Paradise Volunteer Fire Department and Dave Thiesing on bagpipes.

Chip was born Dec. 3, 1946, in Harlingen. He was a retired cabinet maker.

He served his country in the United States Air Force from 1966 to 1970, including service in Vietnam in 1968-1969. He was a member of the Cottondale Volunteer Fire Department for 10 years.

He was a member of the Patriot Guard Riders for 10 years, and he was a member of the First Baptist Church of Cottondale. He loved Harley-Davidson motorcycles, guns and all of God’s creatures. He was always ready to help anyone and anything when in need.

He is survived by his wife, Sherron ‘Red’ Foster; daughter Brooke Hall; son-in-law and best friend Scott Hall; adopted son Mike Bombonati and wife, Donna; daughter-in-law Leigh Angela Foster; grandsons Coleman James Foster and Mason Scott Hall; sister-in-law Joyce Cole and husband, Marvin Cole; niece Melissa Cole; grandniece Taylan Joyce Cole; nephew Phillip Cole and wife, Casey; grandnephew Cannon James Cole; and extended family.

He was preceded in death by his parents, brother and son Kirk Foster.

Memorials may be made to Cottondale Volunteer Fire Department, cancer research or your local humane society.

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Truck driver escapes serious injury

A Boyd man narrowly escaped serious injury Friday morning after overturning the cement truck he was driving and plowing through a fence on County Road 3791 near Cottondale.

Christopher Cox, 25, became trapped inside the wreckage and was extricated by Cottondale volunteer firefighters and Wise County medics.

Close Call

CLOSE CALL – Christopher Cox, 25, of Boyd became trapped in the cement truck he was driving after taking a turn too fast and overturning the vehicle. He was not seriously injured. Messenger photo by Jimmy Alford

Based on what they saw when they arrived on the scene, first responders anticipated serious injury. But they found Cox alert and stable.

Although a helicopter ambulance landed near the scene, Cox was transported by ground ambulance to Wise Regional Health System in Decatur where he received a “couple of stitches” and remained in stable condition Friday afternoon.

Investigators say Cox was northbound on CR 3791 when the accident occurred.

Cox was wearing a seatbelt. Investigators believe that, and his small build, helped spare him more serious injury.

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Marvin Wayne Livengood

Marvin Wayne Livengood

Marvin Wayne Livengood, 69, of Cottondale, died Friday, June 14, 2013, at home.

Graveside service is 11 a.m. Thursday, June 20, at Cottondale Cemetery. Mark Noles will officiate. Visitation is 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday at Jones Family Funeral Home in Bridgeport.

Marvin was born Nov. 10, 1943, in Decatur to Velma (Kelley) and Albert Livengood. He was a farmer and rancher. He married Betty Moody Livengood June 21, 1963, in Paradise, and they were married 49 years, 11 months and three weeks at the time of his death. He was a member of the Cottondale Church of Christ.

He is survived by his wife Betty; daughters Vanessa Kay Jones and husband, Barry, of Bonham and Trisha Jean Simmons and husband, Benny, of Jacksboro; sister Violet Marie Haney of Wichita Falls; grandchildren Lee Wayne Jones and wife, Haley, Amy Lynn Wiechman and husband, Sean, Brittany Kay Jones, Benna Jean Simmons and Shalin Ciara Simmons; three step-grandchildren; one great-grandchild; and four step-great-grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by his parents; sister Tillie Leona Boren; and brother A.J. Livengood.

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Blaze devours home, kills pets

Blaze devours home, kills pets

A fire destroyed a house and killed two dogs trapped inside early Friday morning in south Wise County.

The fire was first reported shortly after 2 a.m. at a home located on County Road 3791, near the intersection of CR 3690, several miles southwest of Cottondale.

TOTAL LOSS - Firefighters from multiple agencies responded to a house fire south of Cottondale early Friday morning, but flames quickly devoured the house, killing two dogs trapped inside. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

TOTAL LOSS – Firefighters from multiple agencies responded to a house fire south of Cottondale early Friday morning, but flames quickly devoured the house, killing two dogs trapped inside. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

The blaze spread quickly. By the time firefighters arrived, more than half the home was in flames and other nearby structures were threatened. The volunteers contained the fire to the home, but it was a total loss.

Within an hour nothing was left but orange, smoldering remains. Firefighters trudged through ashes as thick clouds of smoke billowed into the cold, night sky, under a low-hanging, pale moon. White, red and blue lights of the fire trucks illuminated the smoke, which was visible for miles.

Tommy Alley, 46, lived at the home with his two dogs, Cooee and Sheba. Alley was not home when the fire started. He thinks a candle he left burning might have touched it off, but the exact cause is unknown at this time.

“Those dogs were like his family,” said Marti Wise, who lives in a nearby home on the property. “My stomach is still churning thinking about those dogs being in there.”

Alley lost almost everything he owned, along with a lot of family memorabilia. He’d lived there for 12 years.

“He lost everything,” said his older brother Donny Alley, who also lives nearby. “Everything but the clothes on his back.”

Alley’s father, Lonny Alley, first noticed the fire. He initially thought Tommy might still be in the home.

“I grabbed a wet comforter and was going to go into the home to see if I could find him,” Wise said. “That’s when I saw the smoke was so black inside you could barely see the flames at the back of the house.”

It looked like it started in the back of the house but quickly spread and swallowed the structure in flames. All those nearby could do was look on.

Volunteer firefighters from Cottondale, Paradise, Salt Creek and Springtown responded along with Wise County medics.

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Poor visibility possibly played role in wreck

Poor visibility possibly played role in wreck

Two people were injured in a wreck Tuesday morning near a construction site on Farm Road 51 between Paradise and Boyd.

The two-vehicle wreck occurred just before 9 at the intersection of FM 51 and FM 2123, just south of the ongoing construction at FM 51 South and Texas 114.

LOW VISIBILITY - Limited visibility due to a line of 18-wheelers parked alongside the road might have caused two SUVs to collide at the intersection of Farm Roads 51 and 2123 Tuesday morning. Both drivers were taken to a local hospital with minor injuries. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

LOW VISIBILITY – Limited visibility due to a line of 18-wheelers parked alongside the road might have caused two SUVs to collide at the intersection of Farm Roads 51 and 2123 Tuesday morning. Both drivers were taken to a local hospital with minor injuries. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

Larry D. Banks, 74, of Paradise, was at the stop sign on FM 2123 when he pulled out in front of southbound sport utility vehicle on FM 51 driven by Peggy J. Rogers, 48, of Sunset.

Banks told the investigating state trooper that he was unable to see the oncoming vehicle when he pulled out due to a line of 18-wheelers carrying equipment for the project, parked on the shoulder of the southbound lane.

Department of Public Safety State Trooper Matthew Garcia said he had not issued any citations yet, and the wreck requires further investigation.

Both drivers were transported by ground ambulance to Wise Regional Health System in Decatur. Banks reported trouble breathing, and Rogers might have suffered a neck injury.

Traffic was closed down in both directions for nearly a half-hour as emergency responders sorted the wreckage littering the middle of the highway.

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Early morning house fire claims elderly man

An elderly, handicapped man died in a house fire between Cottondale and Boyd early Sunday morning.

Henry Crowson was the only occupant of the single-wide mobile home ravaged by flames just before 5 a.m.

His body was found several hours later.

FATAL FIRE – A fire that destroyed a mobile home between Cottondale and Boyd early Sunday morning, killed the home’s only occupant, Henry Crowson. When a neighbor discovered the fire just before 5 a.m., the home was fully involved. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

According to a longtime neighbor, “Curly,” as he was affectionately known, had lived on the property on County Road 4594 for almost 40 years.

“My dad and Curly each bought a piece of land on the very same day, back in the ’70s,” Jason Carter said. “I’ve known him my whole life.”

Carter discovered the fire around 4:45 a.m. Sunday after being awakened by the wind.

“I thought I heard my shop door opening and closing I was walking out to the shop, and I could see the flames over the trees,” he said. “I woke up my wife and told her to be ready in case the fire came this way. Then I ran over there. The house was almost already burned down. I started hollering his name and looking around, hoping he had got out.”

Cottondale, Paradise, Newark and Boyd volunteer fire departments responded to the structure fire. When Cottondale units first checked on scene around 5:20, the single-wide mobile home was fully engulfed.

“It was a defensive fire from the beginning,” said Paradise Fire Chief John Neal, whose department assumed command.

After the fire was contained and under control around 6 a.m., command temporarily ceased fire operations because connected power was causing sparking.

“Given it’s a total loss of the home, we didn’t want to risk our firefighters’ (safety),” Neal said.

Once power was cut, firefighters continued the overhaul and found the body.

The Denton County and state fire marshals are leading an investigation, which is protocol for a fire fatality. The cause of the fire is unknown and might not be determined because of the extent of the damage, Neal said. Arson is not suspected but is not ruled out, he added.

Precinct 2 Justice of the Peace Terri Johnson pronounced Crowson dead shortly after 1 p.m.

“I hadn’t gone to check on him in a while, but I did see him at Dos Chiles a couple of weeks ago,” Carter said. “He used to go up there every day and just sit around and talk to people. He loved talking to people. It seemed like he knew everybody.”

Carter remembers the “easygoing” Curly being in a band. He also recalls his devotion to his abounding gardens and his benevolence.

“He loved to garden, and he did it until he couldn’t do it anymore,” Carter said. “He grew all kinds of vegetables and would give them away. He was a nice, giving man. He was always kind.”

Crowson was preceded in death by his wife “about 10 years ago,” Carter said. They had a son and a daughter, who now live in the Metroplex.

Service for Crowson is pending at Jones Family Funeral Home in Bridgeport.

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Daughter runs over mom after fight with husband

A Bridgeport woman was flown to a Fort Worth hospital after accidentally being run over by her daughter following a domestic disturbance near Cottondale early Saturday morning.

According to investigators, it appears Shanda Holsted, 38, and her husband got into a fight and left a residence on Bullion Road on foot, intoxicated.

Holsted’s daughter, Parish Post, 18, of Bridgeport and her friend, who were also at the residence, jumped into a pickup and went to search for them. Post attempted to make a U-turn on a blind curve on Bullion Road, near Luke Road, and struck her mother, who had fallen in the ditch.

Holsted was flown to John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth from a nearby field with “incapacitating injuries,” but they did not appear to be life-threatening. A call to the hospital inquiring on her status had not been returned as of press time.

Post was issued citations for no license and no insurance. The accident is still under investigation, and investigators may press other charges, such as a citation for making a U-turn on a blind curve.

“A normal person doesnt expect an intoxicated person to be passed out laying in the ditch when you make a turn,” Trooper Brandon Chaney said. “But you are required to use due-care when manuevering a vehicle either way.”

The husband was located further down the road.

“We talked to him, and he had no idea that the crash had occurred,” Chaney said. “His plan was to walk to Cottondale to get away from everything. He was released to a family friend, who gave him a ride home.”

Cottondale volunteer firefighters, Wise County Sheriff’s deputies and Texas Department of Public Safety Troopers worked the accident.

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Willard and Mary Frances Gentry

Willard and Mary Frances Gentry

Willard and Mary Frances Gentry of Cottondale will celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary with a family party at their home of 38 years.

Willard Gentry and the former Mary Frances Holt were married June 21, 1952, in Fort Worth.

They have four children: Wesley and wife, Patricia, Russel, Bradley and wife, Rayanne, and Jo, all of Cottondale; nine grandchildren; and 16 great-grandchildren.

Willard worked at a gas station in Bridgeport, Acme Brick and rock crushers. He built houses and churches in Wise County, was a sheetrocker and managed the Coastal Plains warehouse in Irving. He built and owned the old Cottondale Store, helped start the Cottondale Volunteer Fire Department and the Paradise baseball and softball fields and coached in the Irving Girls Softball League (IGSL) and Irving Boys Baseball League.

Mary Frances worked alongside her husband for six decades, designing and decorating houses he built and as a cook and cashier at the old Cottondale Store.

She worked at Marine Aircraft in Fort Worth and the United Methodist Camp, is a seamstress, coached IGSL, helped start the CVFD and the Paradise baseball and softball fields and was president of the Parent-Teacher Organization of Irving schools.

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Clyde Garland Martin

MEMORIAL service for Clyde Garland Martin, 76, of Cottondale is 3 p.m. Wednesday, June 13, at Coker-Hawkins Funeral Home Chapel in Decatur.

Posted in Funerals0 Comments

Clyde Garland Martin

MEMORIAL service for Clyde Garland Martin, 76, of Cottondale is 3 p.m. Wednesday, June 13, at Coker-Hawkins Funeral Home Chapel in Decatur.

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