Tennessee church mourns after youth minister dies from COVID-19

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BOLIVAR, Tenn. — A Bolivar church is healing after losing its youth minister to COVID-19.

Church members at at Dixie Hills Baptist Church in Bolivar said even though their minister Wes Depew has passed, his legacy carries on.

“He was very gifted musically. He played guitar on our worship team here at church almost every Sunday,” said Ellen Cone, the children’s minister and church secretary.

On Sunday, you would find Depew playing his guitar before service. Not only was he passionate about music, but Cone said he spent years dedicating his life to helping teens, as the youth minister.

“He loved to just make people laugh. He was crazy. You know, as an almost 62-year-old man, he was cutting up just like the teenagers were,” Cone said.

Cone said in mid-October, Depew did what he loved to do and took his kids on their annual youth retreat, not knowing it would be his last.

“They came back on a Thursday and then that Thursday night he just felt like he had a bad cold,” Cone said. “Congestion and everything. Over the weekend, he knew it was probably COVID. So, he got tested over the weekend and it was.”

Cone said Depew’s conditions eventually put him in the ICU. Even though he may have been physically alone in a room, Cone said he was never truly alone as church members prayed for him outside his hospital.

“We come praying for our dear Christian brother. We come praying for Wes. The biggest thing for us is just coming together in prayer,” Cone said.

Cone said they prayed with and for Depew up until his very last breath Sunday.

“Our prayers through this was that God would get the glory. Whatever, if the Lord saw to heal Wes, on this side of heaven then wonderful. But if not, then we know the Lord had other plans,” Cone said.

Cone said while his family is grieving, they are finding peace knowing Depew touched so many lives.

A GoFundMe page is set up for the family and within two days it has already raised more than $11,000.

“He wouldn’t want us to be sad. He was always happy. And we don’t wish him back here because we know he’s where he’s supposed to be,” Cone said.

Church members said his funeral will be this weekend in his hometown of Kingsport, Tennessee.

Find the Wes Depew Gofundme page here.

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