LEBANON, IL (KTVI)-- A Lebanon man known as a local evangelist accidentally drowned Wednesday afternoon in a lake at Horner Recreational Park on the north side of town.
Lewis Jones, Jr., 44, had gone fishing. Relatives say he dropped a fishing pole in the lake and went into the water to retrieve it. As he was returning to shore he went under water and never resurfaced.
Dive teams from the O'Fallon and Swansea Fire Departments retrieved his body.
Friends and relatives describe him as a man of faith who enjoyed preaching at the Action for Christ Church in Lebanon. He was also known as a gospel poet and frequently had religious themed poems published in the Lebanon newspaper, "The Lebanon Advertiser." As a younger man he drew a cartoon strip for the paper.
Jones worked in the construction industry as a laborer often helping to pour concrete. Co-worker Tellis Swarn enjoyed his sense of humor and his commitment to his faith.
"We always used to talk about everything you do in life is a test of faith which it is. God, your faith, is tested in all type of trials and tribulations," Swarn said Thursday after he learned of his friend's sudden death.
Jones, the father of six children, three of them step-children, was scheduled to speak to his congregation on Sunday, Father's Day along with his cousin Decarlo Dale. Dale said he would include a tribute to Jones. "I'll make sure his memory is kept."
As of Thursday night funeral arrangements had not been completed.
On Facebook Betsey Bruce on FOX2
Betsey Bruce on Twitter