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Funeral for Pioneer ‘hero’ Friday

Funeral services have been set for 10 a.m. Friday for a Pioneer Electric Cooperative serviceman who was killed in the line of duty.

Julius &uot;Smitty&uot; Blackwell, 52, of Tyler, a 20-year electric cooperative veteran based out of Pioneer’s Selma office, was fatally injured shortly after 10 a.m. Monday when he was struck by a vehicle.

The incident occurred over the crest of a hill, about one mile north of the Highway 21, County Road 89 intersection near Carlowville.

Pioneer’s Executive Vice President and General Manager, Malloy Chandler, said the loss has grieved every employee.

We’ve never lost one of our employees to an accident in the more than 30 years I’ve been manager.

Visitation is set for today from 6 to 8 p.m. at Selma Funeral Home. The funeral will be at Living Water Worship Center in Selma at 10 a.m. Friday.

Pioneer’s Selma office will be closed Friday morning to allow co-workers to attend the funeral.

Flowers are being accepted or donations can be made in his memory to Living Water Worship Center.