True Lawrence Countian: John Bill Deeds

Published 10:12 am Tuesday, December 1, 2009

I recently received word that a fellow Hornet, John Bill Deeds, had experienced a setback in his health. As is often the case, the rumor was much worse than the actual setback. John Bill is now healthy and doing fine.

John Bill is one of four sons born to Bill and Edna Deeds of Coal Grove. Bill, an electrician with Seabees during World War II, died in 1949 leaving a young mother with four young children, John Bill, Frank, Dee (Charles), and Tim.

Edna would go to work in Dawson-Bryant Schools as teacher and long-time Principal at the Intermediate building before retiring.

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The four brothers – John Bill, Frank, Dee, and Tim – were participants in all sports at Coal Grove, but football was their passion.

All would be members of the OVC All-Conference team during their careers. Tim would play college football at Marshall University, Dee at Capitol University, and John Bill at the University of Cincinnati.

Tim would participate in the annual Ohio North-South football game in 1966; John Bill participated six years earlier in 1960. It was at Cincinnati that John Bill injured his right foot.

It would bother him beyond graduation. About a year and half ago, complications set in the same injured foot. After removing several toes, the entire foot was removed.

According to John Bill, “The pain that I lived with for years is no longer there.”

John Bill is semi-retired, living in Beckley, West Virginia, with wife Sondra. He is the father of three children: Johnny, Marybeth, and Rachel. He and Sondra are grandparents four times.

John Bill is now in good health and is an avid golfer. Because of his active life, he regularly must have his prosthetic foot replaced.

After graduating from the University of Cincinnati, John Bill and Sondra lived first in New Jersey and Connecticut for many years before settling in Beckley. They are now near home and usually seen at Coal Grove Homecoming events.

If you would like to correspond with John Bill, his mailing address is John Bill Deeds, 209 New Guinea Avenue, Beckley, WV 25801.

My memories of John Bill and his three brothers are that they were gentlemen in school and always respectful of teachers and fellow students.

In conclusion, John Bill Deeds exemplifies what it means to be a true Lawrence Countian.

Mike Nourse is a retired educator and contributing columnist for The Tribune. He lives in Coal Grove with wife Clara Gail, also a retired educator.