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John Wendell Messer

Big Stone Gap, Va. - John Wendell Messer, 80, went home to be with the Lord on Thursday, October 19, 2023.
Mr. Messer was born in Big Stone Gap, and spent most of his life here, although he traveled to many places. He was a master craftsman who built houses. His true passion was singing, having sang with ‘The Nightbeats’ in the ‘60s and ‘The Paradice Band’ in the ‘80s in Wise County, and most recently ‘Radio Sam’.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Bascom and Roberta (Cole) Messer; one granddaughter, Liliana Harcourt; one brother and two sisters.
Surviving are five sisters, Shirley Horne of Albany, Ga., Delores Bushong of Bristol, Tenn., Charlotte Gatley and husband, Bob, of Big Stone Gap, Va., Lana Bailey and husband, Les, of Big Stone Gap, Va., and Lynn Simmons and husband, Lucky, of Culpepper, Va.; two brothers, Gerald Messer and wife, Wilma, of Careyville, Tenn., and Larry Messer of Bristol, Va.; one daughter, Sara Harcourt and husband James Harcourt of Birmingham, England; and son Matthew Messer of Big Stone Gap, VA; two grandchildren, Clayton Messer and Chloe Harcourt; and numerous nieces and nephews.
Family will receive friends 1-5 p.m. Saturday, October 28, 2023, at the pavilion of the Jessie Lea RV Park and Campground, 900 Wood Ave., W. in Big Stone Gap, Va. All are welcome.
Gilliam Funeral Home and Crematory is honored to serve the Messer family.
To view the obituary online and offer condolences, visit or the funeral home Facebook page.

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