Rev. Leonard Wildes
The Rev. Leonard Martin Wildes (retired), 82, of Waycross, died Tuesday morning (April 21, 2015) at home following an extended illness.
He was a native of Waycross and a direct descendant of John Wildes, a survivor of the Wildes Massacre of 1838.
He was preceded in death by his great-grandparents, John Wildes and Sarah Jane Nunez Wildes, grandparents, James Leonard Wildes and Martha Malissa Dixon Wildes, step-grandmother, Maggie Tatum Wildes, Mose Barber and Amanda Jane Stanfield Barber, his parents, Spencer Martin Wildes and Essie Ruth Barber Wildes, two sisters, Dorothy Jane Roland (husband, James B. Roland) and Martha Ruth Taylor.
He is survived by his wife Ina “Pinky” Ruth Steiner Wildes (Satilla Care Center); sister, Florris Wildes Willis; beloved companion and devoted caregiver, Toni Brown, her daughter and his dear friend, Nadine Borrelli, all of Waycross.
He is also survived by his four children, David Martin Wildes (wife, Odalie), of Norman, Okla., Susan Inez Ray (husband, Randy), of Freeport, Fla., Cynthia Gail Wildes, of Becida, Minn., John Daniel Wildes, of San Antonio, Texas; and two step-children, Raeline Nobels (husband, Brian), of Flower Mound, Texas, and Allen Steiner, of Clayton, N.C.; five granddaughters; one step-grandson; three great-grandsons and six great-granddaughters; three nieces, Penny Justice (husband, Sherman), of Jacksonville, Fla., Harriet Emily Bowman (husband, Clint) and Nora Marie Willis, of Waycross; one nephew, William Spencer Willis, of McDonough; and numerous great-nieces, great-nephews and many other relatives throughout the area.
He joined the U.S. Air Force in 1949 at the age of 16, when he may have misinformed the Air Force of his date of birth, which was brought to light and corrected in 1955. He began his military career as a private rifleman in the 221st Infantry Division and retired from the Air Force in 1969 as an aircraft reciprocating engine mechanic with the rank of tech sergeant.
He was stationed at many bases around the world and USA including Guam, Okinawa, England, Illinois, Texas, Hawaii, New Hampshire and California. He served during both the Korean and Vietnam conflicts and was awarded many decorations, medals and commendations including the Korean Service Medal, the National Defense Service Medal and the Good Conduct Medal. He also served in the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary.
After his military retirement, he lived in Texas and Minnesota before returning to his native Waycross. He became a minister in the Methodist church and pastored at several churches, managed a food bank and ministered to shut-ins. He loved airplanes and was a licensed pilot for many years. He also worked as an election poll supervisor for Ware County.
He had a beautiful bass voice and loved music and singing. He had a deep compassion for the needs of others including a love for animals. At the time of his death, he had four cats, three of which were rescues, and a dog. He also had a great sense of humor and loved to share stories of his life, and there was no topic that he didn’t have a story about!
He was a devout Christian and a member of New Hope Fellowship in Waycross.
A memorial service will be held Sunday at 2 p.m. at New Hope Fellowship, 522 Miles Still Road, Waycross.
Everyone that knew him or his family is invited to attend.
In lieu of flowers or food his family has requested that donations be made to the Okefenokee Humane Society or New Hope Fellowship.

Dorothy Lee Willeford
HOBOKEN — Dorothy “Elaine” Lee Willeford, 56, of Hoboken, died Wednesday night (April 22, 2015) at her residence after an extended illness.
Born in Waycross, she was the daughter of Lester McCoy Sr. and Yona Faye Crews Lee. She was also preceded in death by a son, Ron Willeford, a sister, Sara Louise Lee, and her very best friends, Sheila and Bertha Rhoden.
She was the previous owner of Baytree Insurance Company in Waycross until her health caused her to sell. She was a cashier for Country Boy Restaurant in Hoboken and was of the Baptist faith. She loved family times, seeing all her nieces and nephews and enjoyed watching the Atlanta Braves.
Survivors include her husband, Dale Willeford, of Hoboken; a son and daughter-in-law, Carl and Elaine Willeford, of Mooresville, N.C.; three grandchildren, Savannah Willeford, Kerigan McCann and Justin McCann, all of Mooresville, N.C.; her step-father, C.V. Moore, of Hoboken; two brothers and sisters-in-law, McCoy and Becky Lee and Barry and Anna Lee, all of Hoboken; two sisters and brothers-in-law, Diane and Eddie Lewis, of Hoboken, and Linda and Keith Staff, of Milledgeville; 13 nieces and nephews; 29 great-nieces and nephews; and several other relatives.
Visitation will be held this evening starting at 6 o’clock at her residence, 16 Day Lily Circle, Hoboken.
A graveside service will be held Saturday morning at 11 at High Bluff Cemetery with the Rev. Tim Rowell and the Rev. Richard Jeffers officiating.
Pallbearers will be Chris Roberson, Wayne Lewis, Brandon Lee, Lester Lee, Josh Lee, David Lewis, D.J. Lee and Robert Irvin.
Pallbearers are asked to be at her residence Saturday morning at 10:15.
Arrangements are with Frye Funeral Home, Nahunta.
Sympathy may be expressed by signing the online registry at

Dr. Wendell K. Beal Jr.
Dr. Wendell Kenneth Beal Jr., 80, died Tuesday morning (April 21, 2015) at St. Vincent’s Healthcare-Riverside following a brief illness.
He was a native of Pensacola, Fla., and made his home in Waycross since 1985. He was the son of the late Wendell Kenneth Beal Sr. and Mildred Bowman Beal. He served with the United States Army.
He was an associate pastor at Community Baptist Church of Blackshear and served in ministry for the past 60 years. He received an honorary doctorate of divinity from Florida Bible College. During his ministry he served churches in Virginia, Texas, Georgia, Florida and Illinois.
He served as senior pastor of five churches and assistant pastor of five churches. He was also involved in ministry at the Ware County jail for the past 10 years and formerly at Ware State Prison. He retired as a bus driver with the Ware County School System in 2014 after 20 years of service.
Survivors include his wife of 58 years, Bette Ann Cochran Beal, of Waycross; three sons, Pastor Wendell Burton Beal (wife, Donna), of Jacksonville Fla., Pastor David Kenneth Beal (wife, Susan), of Kissimmee, Fla., and Pastor Stephen Cochran Beal (wife, Melanie), of Waycross; 10 grandchildren, Luke Beal, Austin Beal, Kenny James (wife, Judy), Adam James, Brooke Rigdon (husband, Coleman), Brittney Beal, Bethany Beal, Blair Beal, Becca Beal and Haley Underwood; one great-granddaughter, Emma James; one great-grandson whose birth is expected in July, Reece Rigdon; a sister, Pat King (husband, Jim), of Davenport, Fla.; a brother, Richard Beal (wife, Martha), of Columbia, Miss.; and numerous nieces, nephews and other relatives.
A celebration of life will be held at 3 p.m. Saturday, May 2, at Community Baptist Church, 1646 U.S. Highway 84, Blackshear.
Sympathy may be expressed by signing the online registry at