Teen Dies in 5th Cherokee Co. Fatality - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

4/9/04 - New Summerfield

Teen Dies in 5th Cherokee Co. Fatality

They called themselves "The Three Stooges". They're seniors at New Summerfield High School and after-school co-workers at Sessions Plant Farm. But Wednesday evening, one was lost. Seventeen-year-old Joe Woolery died when his minivan hydroplaned and hit a tree on Hwy 110, just outside the city.

"When I got the news that he had died, I couldn't even drive home," Jonathan Blanton, a friend and co-worker, said. "I had to come and have my mom pick me up."

Together, the three of them made each other laugh, but never left their manager out of the fun.

"When you're up here late at night, 9:30, 10 o'clock at night, and you're ready to go home, he kind of made it interesting, made it fun," Cindy Blanton, manager of Sessions Plant Farm, said.

Blanton hired Woolery and says he's an employee she'll never forget.

"Even my customers are not going to forget Joe," Cindy Blanton said. "That says something about Joe when you have a customer to call in out of state and tell you how sorry that they are."

Woolery's friends remember him as the class clown and someone who put others first.

"We're really a lot alike, both really outgoing, hard to make us mad," Adam Braun, a friend and co-worker, said. "He's just always happy, you know, the life of everything."

They say Woolery loved animals. He took his self-trained dog to nursing homes and hospitals to uplift patients' spirits. And now his friends wish he could be here to uplift theirs.

"I was really in denial at first, and I'm starting to come to grips with it," Braun said. "It's just really going to be tough the next few weeks."

Now "The Three Stooges" will be missing one.

"Now we're going to look out, and it's only going to be "The Two Stooges," Darla Watkins, office manager, said. "We're going to be missing Curly."

But the young men say they're keeping Woolery's memory alive by keeping alive the humor he shared with them.

Woolery was also a national champion rabbit racer and just completed work for Eagle Scout. He was a member of Future Farmers of America and wanted to pursue a career dealing with computers.

Services for Woolery are set for tomorrow afternoon at 2 at the Autry Funeral Home chapel in Jacksonville.

Julie Tam, reporting.

Powered by Frankly