By Marla Jones, Managing Editor • firstname.lastname@example.org
DeKALB COUNTY, Ala. — Over the past few weeks, several prominent DeKalb County citizens have passed away. These citizens include businessmen Jimmy Wells and Charles Willmon, as well as Dr. Charles Isbell.
Willmon, 86 of Scottsboro, who served more than 50 years in banking and as a pastor, passed away on Saturday, December 26 at Huntsville Hospital. He is survived by his wife of 67 years, Martha Gamble Willmon, as well as his three sons, two sisters, four brothers, eight grandchildren, and nine great-grandchildren.
“Charles Willmon was one of the kindest and most generous men that I have ever met, a man that loved the Lord, his family, and his many, many friends. I was blessed to have known Mr. Willmon for over 45 years and during that time, he became not only a mentor but a true friend and father figure,” said David Henderson, CEO, and President of First State Bank of DeKalb County. “I am one of the many that Mr. Willmon hired and taught not only banking but a great deal about life. He was a true community banker, one who cared about his customers and the community he served. During his 50 plus years of banking, there is no way to know the number of people whose lives have been changed because of his compassion. My prayers are with Mrs. Willmon, the family, and his many friends who will miss him.”
Willmon’s services were held on January 4 with a family-only, graveside service to be held later at Gunter Mountain Memory Gardens in Swearengin.
Jimmy Wells, 77 of Rainsville, passed away on Tuesday, December 22. He was a used car salesman alongside his wife Rosie in 1961 and remained in business for the remainder of his life. Wells is survived by his wife of 60 years, Rosemary Wells, along with two daughters, a son, a sister, six grandchildren, and one great-grandchild.
“Jimmy Wells might be thought of as a simple man, but really he was much more than that,” said Wells’s daughter, Angie Bryan. “With just an elementary education, he proved that with hard work and determination, a person can be successful. Jimmy officially began his journey into the used car business alongside his wife Rosie in 1961. He started out in life trying to farm a little, but it seemed his path always led back to his passion — cars.”
“For many years, he traveled to Detroit, Michigan to buy used cars to bring back to Alabama to sell. It wasn’t until the early ’80s that life led him to Houston, Texas, and the rebuildable automobile business. Jimmy found success in buying ‘late model, low miles, rebuildable automobiles that could save people thousands’ as he liked to say. Later in life, as Jimmy began to slow down, he found a love for antique automobiles,” Bryan continued. “He loved to show off his collection (and the tales that went along with each car). He enjoyed traveling every year to the Mecum Auto Auction in Orlando and, for a couple of days, he would run with the ‘big dogs’ on that televised stage. He was just a small-town guy that made friends from California to Florida through his love of automobiles.”
“Although Jimmy had a great passion for cars, you couldn’t talk to him long without him telling you about his real passion in life, which was Jesus Christ,” she concluded. “He often said in life that ‘Man needs more than a new start. Man needs a new heart.’ He loved to tell people about the new heart that Christ gave him back in September 1977. Jimmy Wells, an owner of Jimmy Wells Used Cars, will be greatly missed by all who knew him.”
Dr. Charles Isbell, 87 of Fort Payne, passed away on Sunday, December 27 at his residence in Huntsville. Isbell held licenses as a pediatrician and pharmacist for more than 50 years, delivering more than 3,000 babies in a career that spanned over 30 years. He is survived by his children, grandchildren, and a host of great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his wife Barbara, who passed away in 2018.
“He always had a smile, a kind word, and a helping hand for anyone he met and was the most generous, honest, [and] forgiving and kind-hearted person I have ever known,” said Isbell’s daughter Laura Isbell Patterson via Facebook. “He was a celebrity in his small town and truly had a wonderful life!”
These three prominent citizens of Northeast Alabama will be sorely missed in our community and all of us at Southern Torch give them our condolences and our prayers.