(Top row, left to right) Leon Deane, III, Leon Deane and Martha Deane. Ewan is (front left) joined by his other brother, Aaron Deane.

By Jim Freeman

JELLICO, TN (WLAF) –  The odds of making it to his son’s 2025 high school graduation are not in Leon Deane’s favor.  The youngest of three sons, Ewan, is only a junior, and time is not on Leon’s side.  He’s in hospice battling pancreatic cancer.  Despite the odds, Leon’s last wish is a modest one, to see Ewan walk across the stage at Jellico High School and receive his diploma.

JHS Principal Joey St. John heard about the request on Monday.  “I believe it’s always good when you can honor people,” said St. John.

Ewan and his dad Leon, who also played football for the Blue Devils, are together after Friday’s football game, a tough 14-13 overtime loss to Oakdale.

Tuesday morning St. John met with his administrative team, and the team members agreed they wanted to make this happen.  “I think the family was a little surprised when I said we’ll do it tomorrow (Wednesday),” said St. John.

Leon was diagnosed less than a year ago, and after six months of aggressive treatments, he wasn’t seeing favorable results.  As a result, he decided to discontinue treatments.

The Deanes, Leon and Martha, celebrated their 31st wedding anniversary last month.  They’ve raised a family of three boys and are proud grandparents.

The team, like the town, has rallied around the Ewan and the Deane family.

“The student body, upwards of 300 students, will be on hand for Ewan’s honorary graduation ceremony.  Ewan will be decked out in cap and gown, and there’ll be pomp and circumstance plus Coach Brent Peel and a few of our teachers will share some thoughts,” said St. John.  There’ll also be a program along with an official photographer, according to the principal.

The 50-year- old Deane, store manager for the Jellico O’Reilly Auto Parts, attended Ewan’s football game on Friday night and was in church on Sunday.  This afternoon at 2, he’ll be in the Jellico High School Auditorium to watch his last wish fulfilled.

Ewan will graduate from Jellico High School as his dad and family look on this afternoon.

“This came together quickly.  We’re all doing the best we can in this difficult situation,” said St. John.

Odds are good there won’t be a dry eye in the JHS auditorium this afternoon, and I guess it’s only fitting on this day when a man’s last wish comes true.  (WLAF NEWS PUBLISHED – 08/30/2023-6AM)          

5 Replies to “Deane will see dying wish fulfilled as he receives hospice care”

  1. This is one of the nicest things any one person can do for another. Although I don’t know Principal St. John, his actions are speaking more than words; actually his actions are speaking volumes. Principal St. John, I’d like to thank you for the compassion, courtesy, and going the extra miles for one Individual and his family. You’re touching a life and making a difference, as well as creating a loving and caring memory for a family.

  2. I love this family. I went to school with Leon. And lived down the road from them. The whole family was so nice to me. And I think its awesome what you’ve done to give him his last wishes. Leon never did ask for much.

  3. This is not Joey St John’s first act of kindness. He a naturally good man by birth and nature. Raised by great parents and brings honor on them by being a good parent himself. I’m well pleased with his actions but not surprised in the least. He’s great for Jellico High schoolers.

  4. I am so terribly sorry. My ❤️ is with this family. I am so 😊 he will get his dream come true! God bless everyone and everything!

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