A former Lake Havasu City man is dead after a bee attack last week in Valle Vista. John Wade, an early resident of Lake Havasu City, died Sunday, June 21, in Kingman after he was attacked by a swarm of Africanized bees.
“I just heard about it on Tuesday,” said family friend Betty Crippin. “He went out to his tool shed, and there was a hive of bees inside. … John recovered from cancer a few years ago, only for the bees to take him.”
Reports said Wade was stung between 500 and 1,000 times.
Crippin said Wade died of a heart-attack after his encounter, making him the first fatal victim of an attack by Africanized killer bees in Arizona this year. The bees are well-known for their aggression, and are extremely territorial.
There are about 40 fatal bee attacks each year in the United States, according to the University of Illinois Department.
Wade lived in Kingman at the time of the incident, although his name lives on in Havasu through a baseball field named for his son, John, who was struck by lightning on the field in 1973. Another of his sons, Jeffrey, died in a car accident in 1982. He has three surviving daughters in Kingman and Tucson.
“He was a great guy,” said Gene Flatt, another of Wade’s long-time friends. “A lot of things happened in his life. He got over it, but it bothered him. (His death) was a shock to me. He used to come to Havasu quite often, but he hadn’t been back for a few years. Before that, we were together all the time.”
Wade was a lifetime member of the Lake Havasu City Elks, and a member of the Kingman Eagles, the Lake Havasu City Masonic Lodge No. 64, the American Legion of Lake Havasu City and Havasu’s VFW.
Funeral services will take place at Journey Church, 3782 N. Bank St. at 11 a.m. Saturday, June 27.