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Wardell, 51, the first African American smokejumper, died in January 1977 in Camden, New Jersey. He was born February 11, 1926, in Lynchburg, Virginia, where his father was listed as a "farm laborer." By 1940 the family had moved to Philadelphia where his father was employed as a paper baler. Wardell was 14, one of 12 children, and a member of the First Gospel Church He was drafted into Civilian Public Service in April 1944. Wardell jumped at Missoula during the 1945 season and had seven training and three fire jumps. He was discharged in 1946 and returned to Philadelphia where he married Earlene Edwards in 1948. Wardell married Mollie Craft in 1973.
Smokejumping; Smokejumpers -- United States; National Smokejumper Association; Wildfire fighters; Obituaries
National Smokejumper Association, "Smokejumper Obituary: Davis, Wardell Alphonzo (Missoula 1945)" (2020). Smokejumper Obituaries. 333.