JOHN WADE BELL III, of Lewisburg, West Virginia, died peacefully at his home on June 10th, 2021 in Winston-Salem, North Carolina following a long illness. He was surrounded by his loving family. The son of Wade and Eleanor Bell, John Wade was born in Charleston, WV on November 19th, 1940. He was educated at Greenbrier Military School and West Virginia University.
He married Ann Tate, of White Sulphur Springs, in 1961, and together they raised two children, Kinsey and John, in Lewisburg, WV. He was a man of very diverse passions. His fascination with the weather led him to an early career in aviation as a pilot for Greenbrier Airlines, and his love of history and antiquities eventually called him to his true vocation as a builder and restorer of fine historic properties.
John Wade was in every essence, a passionate and driven creator. From his tireless pursuit of rare antiques, to growing massive vegetable gardens to share with friends and family, to restoring buildings and homes that no one else could envision saving, he was fully invested in everything he did. Once he decided to accomplish something, mountains were moved. He and his children even set up an amateur maple syrup operation on Washington Street.
As a builder, he was a hard man to beat, and his artistic legacy is visible across Greenbrier County. The principles of conservation and preservation formed his guiding constellation, and he loved sharing his work with anyone who was interested. His mentorship of many in the construction business is evident to this day, as many of the area's best craftsmen and builders learned from him.
Apart from his professional and vocational accomplishments, John Wade was an exceptionally generous and loving man, father, and husband. He loved imparting his wisdom and knowledge to others, whether it was a family member, employee, friend, or stranger. "Papa John", as he was known to all the little "possums" (his grandchildren), devoted countless hours to them - sharing his passion for travel, recounting tales of family history, and a whole bunch of sweet teasing and hilarious goofing.
He was a member of the Greenbrier Historical Society, a founding member of the West Virginia Home Builders Association, and a member of St. James Episcopal Church.
He is survived by his wife Ann, daughter Kinsey Mitchell (Alex), son John Wade Bell IV (Grecia) and his grandchildren, Will, Ben, Catherine, and Andrew Mitchell, and Olivia Bell. Also surviving are his siblings, Linda Ogburn (Charlie), Anne Carper (Kent), Cam Bell (Linda), and Andy Bell, sister in law, Kathleen Tate (Gene) along with numerous nieces and nephews, all of whom he loved deeply.
Services will be held at St. James Episcopal Church in Lewisburg, West Virginia on June 26th at 10:30 a.m., with a reception following. In lieu of flowers, gifts may be given in his name to St. James Episcopal Church or the North House Museum in Lewisburg.
Online condolences may be sent to www.salemfh.com/