The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Montcoal Mine Disaster

April 14, 2010

Profiles of victims from mine disaster

(Continued)

BECKLEY —



Howard “Boone” Payne

Howard “Boone” Payne was a “gentle giant” in his early 50s with flaming red hair and broad shoulders.

“He would go out of his way to help someone,” Terry Wright said of his sister Debra’s husband. “He loved to have fun. He was quiet and loved his family.”

Payne began working as a coal miner shortly after graduating high school in 1977. He had worked for Massey Energy for eight to 10 years.



Dillard “Dewey” Persinger



Joel “Jody” Price



Gary Quarles

Gary Quarles’ life was consumed by his wife and two children.

The 33-year-old from Naoma took trips every summer to Myrtle Beach, S.C., with the kids, ages 9 and 11, as well as his wife. The family often went fishing along the New River there.

“He liked to hunt and spend time with his kids,” Janice Quarles said. “That was about it. That’s all he did.”

He liked to hunt everything from raccoons and deer to wild boar.

Gary Quarles started coal mining when he was 18. He was among those finishing a 10.5-hour shift when the explosion happened, his wife said.



Grover Dale Skeens

Grover Skeens found religion later in life and was involved in that extensively, said his brother, Gary Skeens of Dunbar.

Grover Skeens, 57, of Montcoal, was one of five siblings who grew up in Twilight in Boone County. He got his middle name from a brother-in-law, Jimmy Dale Massey.

“I don’t know how my wife talked her mother into that,” Massey said.

Skeens joined the Marines after the Vietnam War before becoming a coal miner like his brother Gary.

“Mostly, his passion was work,” Massey said. “He started out in the coal mines at an early age. He’s been working there for almost 30 years.”

About 15 years ago Skeens was baptized and has had a strong church involvement ever since.

“He went to church all the time,” Gary Skeens said.

Massey is presiding at a graveside service on Wednesday.

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