In Sept. 24 Issue
John Carl Phelps, generally known as J.C., was a man with several nick-names relating to his prowess with a softball bat. The 41-year-old professional athlete died last Friday of a heart attack.
A life-long friend said Phelps and his stepdaughter had simply been boating when they stopped at a house boat and he'd mentioned not feeling well before collapsing.
Reportedly there were nurses on the boat and they began CPR until crew members from the Russell County Ambulance Service could arrive.
Kentucky Fish & Wildlife Officer Tony Wright took the medics to the vessel on his boat, and from there Phelps was taken to a near-by landing in Wayne County where an ambulance was waiting.
"We did everything we could, but he didn't make it," said one of the emergency responders.
Phelps was featured regularly in the Times Journal and the Russell County News for his skill as a bats-man and had said in an interview last fall that he was considering retirement.
He had been playing professionally since 1990 and had earned at least four championship records, numerous all-star awards and as he said, "You can just say I've won several awards; it kind of sounds like I'm bragging if you start listing them all."
One of the big men in the game, standing 6-foot-3 and weighing nearly 300 pounds with an .816 batting average, Phelps had several endorsement deals with equipment manufacturers and had worked with them to educate others about softball.
There was a block-long line to see him one last time Sunday night at the H.E. Pruitt Funeral Home in Jamestown and the Mt. Pleasant Church was filled beyond capacity Monday morning for the service at noon. He was laid to rest in his uniform Monday in the family cemetery
Phelps was the son of Judy and the late John Phelps. He is the father of Elizabeth Phelps Hopper and Jacob Phelps and step father to Lyndsey and Chris Grider and Samantha Truong and husband to Myra Phelps.