June 22, 1939 - March 9, 2012
James Weldon Wakefield, 72, died peacefully March 9, 2012, at his home in College Place. He was born June 22, 1939, in Pasco to William Thomas and Cleta Enola Overturf Wakefield. Growing up in Burbank, Umapine and Benton City, he played the trumpet in the Kennewick High School band. Following graduation in 1957, he attended Columbia Basin College prior to joining the U.S. Army. While stationed at Fort Devon, Mass., he met his wife, Rachael. He finished his schooling in Massachusetts and earned an accounting degree.
James was employed by the Civil Service in Massachusetts and Texas for 25 years. Following a divorce, he and the children returned to Massachusetts. Ten years later, James joined his sister, Kathy, in Walla Walla and College Place. He enrolled in the CNA training program at the Walla Walla Community College and received certification.
James amassed a large collection of beer steins, enjoyed watching western movies, cherished the memories of many family outings to camp and fish on the Tucannon River and lakes and followed the Patriots, Seahawks and the Red Sox. Last summer, while visiting family in Massachusetts, his son, Scott, surprised him on his birthday with tickets to a Red Sox game.
James and his buddy, Buffy, spent many years sitting together outdoors in all types of weather. Neighbors and their dogs stopped to visit on their daily walks. Sadly, his beloved Buffy passed away Feb. 9 of this year. James' laughter and Buffy's barking will be missed in the neighborhood.
James is survived by his son, Scott (Holly) Wakefield; and granddaughters, Nicole and Brittany of Leominster, Mass; sister, Kathy Priest of College Place; brother, Duane (Ann) Wakefield of Battle Ground, Wash.; 25 nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents; daughter, Candee; sisters, Billie Jean (Chuck) Lansing, Naomi (Howard) Livermore, Marilyn Wakefiled; brothers, Edward and Jerry Wakefield.
Funeral services will be held Thursday, March 15, 2012, at 11 a.m. at Herring Groseclose Funeral Home, 315 W. Alder, Walla Walla. The family requests that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Blue Mountain Humane Society or charity of your choice through the funeral home. Family and friends are invited to sign the online guestbook at www.herringgroseclose.com.