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Friends meet face-to-face for the first time

By Staff | Oct 15, 2014

After communicating by telephone for the last three years, Bill Deaton and David Van Covern met face-to-face for the first time this week. The two are pictured at the Wells Family Cemetery, where Van Covern’s ancestors rest.

Sometimes, all it takes is a common interest to cultivate a relationship that is destined to last for a lifetime.

After communicating by telephone for about three years, Friendly resident Bill Deaton and David Van Covern, resident of The Woodlands, Texas, finally came face-to-face this week. In that one meeting, the two feel they now have a friendship second to none.

“Sometimes we’d talk on the phone as many as four or five times a week,” Deaton said. “Sometimes, even more than that, it depended on what was going on at the time, and sometimes, we’d just talk.”

Mainly, the two men conversed about the state of the Wells Family Cemetery which, at the time the men began communicating, was in deplorable condition and in need of serious repairs. From overgrown landscaping, uprooted trees, broken monuments, slipping foundations, and damaged fencing, the old cemetery needed a major renovation and some tender loving care.

Van Covern, the great-great-great-grandson of the founding father of Sistersville, Charles Wells, organized fund raising and contracted Deaton to rehabilitate the cemetery. Obviously, he chose the right man for the job because Deaton went to work almost immediately.

Working many months of long hours and keeping in touch with Van Covern by phone only, Deaton almost single handedly turned the Wells Family Cemetery into a serene place of peacefulness, as is befitting the burial sites of the founders of any city.

After seeing the cemetery for the first time in person this weekend, the Wells descendant is more than pleased with the final result.

“What a wonderful job he has done,” Van Covern said. “It’s almost more than I can imagine from looking at pictures. He really has put the work into this project and we appreciate it more than I can say. It’s beautiful.”

Two men thousands of miles apart with two common denominators-a cemetery and a telephone-and it all worked out for the best for all concerned with a happy ending.

“He’s a great guy,” Van Covern said of Deaton. “There’s none better.”

“I really like this guy,” said Deaton. “We’re on the same wavelength.”

When his visit in Sistersville is done, Van Covern will return to Texas and Deaton will go on about his daily life in Friendly. But before long they can most likely expect the phone to ring . . . and find their friend on the other end.