From the Mobile Press Register

Sunday, June 19, 2005
Staff Reporter
A south Mobile County volunteer fire department chief and ardent Harley-Davidson enthusiast died late Friday night after he apparently lost control of his 2002 black Harley Electra Glide while exiting Interstate 10, authorities said.

His wife said Saturday that her husband died doing something he loved.

William Alonzo Messer Sr., 58, of Theodore was heading west on Interstate 10 at 11:20 p.m. when he took the Dauphin Island Parkway exit, struck a guard rail and landed on an embankment, said Mobile Police Spokesman Eric Gallichant.

Messer, who was wearing a helmet at the time of the accident, died in transit to University of South Alabama Medical Center, Gallichant said.

Known as "Rowdy" to his motorcycle "brothers" and as "Lonnie" to his other friends, family members said, Messer had more than 30 years of experience on motorcycles and enjoyed taking cross-country rides.

Brenda Messer, his wife of 37 years, said her husband has lost about seven motorcyclist friends to fatal accidents in recent years.

"I kept telling him, 'The good Lord's trying to tell you to get off that bike.' But he said, 'That's how I'd want to go,'" Brenda Messer said.

William Messer worked for 17 years as a paramedic and firefighter. He also served as chief of the Fowl River Volunteer Fire Department since 2001 and "always wanted to do for everybody," said Desiree Logan, the girlfriend of Messer's son.

"He's an awesome man," she said. "He will be greatly missed."

Messer had three families, Logan said. One was with his wife, sons and grandchildren; one was with his fellow paramedics and firefighters; and the other was on the road with his friends who rode motorcycles, she said.

He was riding with a group of his motorcycle friends when the accident occurred, Logan said.

Messer was a Vietnam veteran who served as a staff sergeant in the U.S. Air Force from 1966 to 1972 and had once served as the president of In-Country Vietnam Vets Motorcycle Club, Logan said.

He would split his time between the Mobile area and the California coast, his wife said. Messer would work for two weeks as a paramedic for a company in California. During the following two weeks, he would work as a paramedic and firefighter in Mobile County for the volunteer department and then fly back to California, she said.

Messer was scheduled to fly back to California on Tuesday, his wife said.

Messer is survived by his wife, Brenda; two sons, Bill Messer Jr. of Mobile and Chris Messer of Birmingham; three granddaughters and one grandson; his mother, Bertie Dockstader of Beaumont, Texas; and two brothers, Joe Messer of Texas and Jim Messer of Semmes.