Wayne T. Jeffries, age 94 years, a resident of rural Vienna, passed away Wednesday morning, November 2, 2016, at 4:59 AM at Baptist Health Center in Paducah, Kentucky.
Wayne was born June 17, 1922 in rural Johnson County Illinois. He was the son of Louis E. and Maggie (Trafford) Jeffries.
On May 26, 1948, Wayne was united in marriage to Shirley Moore at Anna, Illinois. She preceded him in death on December 9, 2000.
Survivors include: his daughters – Blenda Humphrey of Paducah, Kentucky, Donita (her husband, Ronnie) Jeffries-Kerr of Phoenix, Arizona, Shirlyn (her husband, Jack) Land of Metropolis, Anneice (her husband, J.P.) Watkins of Vienna, and Carol (her husband, John) Jeffries-Chester of Marion; 6 grandchildren – Charles Humphrey of Brownsburg, Indiana, Kyle (his wife, Catherine) Humphrey of Paducah, Kentucky, Erika (her husband, Dwayne) Davis of Greenwood, Indiana, Sheba (her husband, Ryan) Radamaker of Vienna, Megan Watkins of Marion, and Sean (his wife, Mandie) Chester of Marion; 8 great grandchildren – Annabelle, Oisin, Tiffini, Anthony, Tim, Ayden, Jaylyn, and Emma; and 2 nieces – Peggy Vayette of New Athens and Ruth Yoakum of Iberia, Missouri.
In addition to his parents and wife, Wayne was preceded in death by an infant son – James Louis Jeffries, his sister – Norma Taylor and a nephew – Donnie Taylor.
After completing high school, Wayne joined the U.S. Navy (serving from January 1941-January 1947). His wartime service was with a patrol squadron (VP-83), a seaplane squadron based near Natal Brazil. During convoy and anti-submarine warfare, the squadron was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation for sinking 1 Italian and 6 German submarines and assisting in destroying 2 additional German U-Boats and 1 German blockade runner. Wayne’s other overseas duty was on the Island of Guam from 1945-1946.
Following his release from the Navy, Wayne worked as clerk in his sister and brother-in-law’s grocery store (The Farmer’s Market) located at the corner of 3rd and Main Streets in Vienna for a time. Then, he went to work with Republic Steel in South Chicago as a third helper on one of their open hearth furnaces in the melt shop. Wayne remembers this experience as “both the hottest and coldest time of my life.” He worked there until a coal strike forced a shutdown of the furnaces and a workers lay off. Wayne then came back home to Johnson County. He and Shirley were married and they moved to Aurora, Illinois where he went to work for Barber-Greene, a manufacturer of road surfacing and material handling equipment, working there until another layoff because of a recession.
Returning to Johnson County, he bought a tractor and equipment and started farming on the home place. Later, he began a career with the United States Postal Service, starting when the post office was across 4th street from the Drover’s Bank building on the Vienna courthouse square. Wayne retired in 1985 from the present Vienna post office location. At one time, a produce business was located on this site and Wayne had worked there on Saturdays during his high school years.
Wayne is fondly remembered for his love of the outdoors and for being an avid “rock hound.” He loved tending to his farm. But, he took his greatest pride and joy in his 5 girls.
Wayne faithfully attended Vienna First United Methodist Church.
A service honoring the life of Wayne Jeffries will be conducted Saturday morning, November 5, 2016, at 10:30 AM at Bailey Funeral Home in Vienna. Pastor Joe Richard will officiate. Burial will be in the Vienna Fraternal Cemetery. Military graveside rites will be accorded by the U.S. Navy Burial Honors Detail and the Beggs-Gurley VFW Post # 5222.
Visitation will be held Friday evening, November 4, 2016 from 5 PM – 8 PM at Bailey Funeral Home in Vienna.
Memorials may be made to the Vienna First United Methodist Church, P.O. Box 1349, Vienna, Illinois 62995, the United Methodist Children’s Home, 2023 Richview Road, Mt. Vernon, Illinois 62864, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, Tennessee 38105-1905 or to the charity of the donor’s choice.
To share a memory of Wayne or to leave a message of condolence for his family, please visit www.baileyfh.com
Arrangements have been entrusted to Bailey Funeral Home in Vienna.