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Wayne Epley

September 5, 1940 ~ March 7, 2022 (age 81)

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Jesse Wayne Epley was born in Chesnee, SC on September 5, 1940, at his grandmother’s home. His Mother made one ‘last trip ‘home before his due date. Imagine everyone’s surprise when the 10 pound baby arrived early! Wayne lived his life with a smile on his face and lots of joy. He loved God, people, his friends and especially his family deeply. He was a man of integrity and honor. 
He died, March 7th, 2022, peacefully surrounded by family.
Wayne was preceded in death by his parents, Sidney Charles and Margaret Madora Vassey Epley; first wife, Sheila Jones Epley, who he loved dearly; Sheila’s parents, J.R. & Margaret Jones, father and mother-in-law, Miller David Ware and Helen Ware Perdue, step-father-in-law, Russell Perdue, brothers-in-law B.B. Miller Ware, Bill Denton, Don Bragg and Jack Tischler. We imagine Sid, Bill and Don were waiting for him to tee off.
He is survived by his wife of 33 years, Charlotte “Charlie” Ware Epley, son, Brian Wayne Epley (Robin),  daughter, Jennifer Epley Hill, brother, Joe Sidney Epley (Dorcas), sister, Katherine Epley Tischler, brother, Ronnie Guffey (Sherry);  sisters-in-law Peggy Ware Denton and Joyce Ware Bragg; brothers-in-law, Johnny Jones (Wanda), Mike Jones (Katie), seven grandchildren, eight great-grandchildren, many nieces and nephews; his “summer daughter” Rev Meredith Harber, his “Ghanaian daughter” Comfort Bawah,  “German daughter” Katja Domes  and  special friends: Nancy Fairley, Candy and Dan Forrester and Bernice Houston.  
Wayne loved God, reading, singing, sports, and cooking.  He loved cooking for others, once hosting an ‘all shifts’ buffet’ where he prepared a delicious, beautifully presented meal to thank the members of the Davidson Police and Fire departments for their service.
As a high school student, he played football at Cool Springs High School and was offered a college scholarship to play football. Instead, he decided to join the U.S. Air Force thinking he could play football for them. He soon realized that daily regular duties took precedence. He proudly served his country. 
Wayne was first ordained as a Deacon at West Point Baptist, Rutherford, NC and later served at First Baptist, Matthews, NC and First Baptist, Huntersville, NC, his favorite part was serving communion to the homebound and baptizing a young friend, Ben Forman. 
He served 12 years on the North Carolina Cabinet for Gideon’s International, the last three as President, and was a member for over forty years. He participated in Gideon International Extension Action Programs in Uganda, Ethiopia and Mexico, distributing more than 400,000 Bibles and New Testaments. He loved catching up with friends from these trips at International Conventions. When grandson Jonathan Hill joined them at the convention in Birmingham, Alabama, they had dinner with Gideon friends from Brazil, Japan, and Taiwan. All were surprised when the Gideon from Taiwan, an opera singer, gave an impromptu performance in the restaurant. 
Wayne loved traveling, especially with his family. His favorites were a trip to England with Brian and a trip with Brian, Robin and five grandchildren by train from Charlotte to Washington D.C. where they attended an Easter sunrise service at Arlington National Cemetery, toured the Pentagon, and visited the Museums and the Memorials.
He was a supportive, loving and tenacious husband. He was devoted to his young wife Sheila as she struggled with Multiple Sclerosis. She died following 15 months in a coma, leaving him to raise two small children. Years later, he was so proud of wife Charlotte he insisted they move to Atlanta where she could pursue her long deferred acting dream. His only request: ‘Just don’t put us in the middle of traffic.’ So, they moved to a sheep farm in Chattahoochee Hills and shared a farmhouse owned by Brazilian coffee roasters. 
Wayne faced his Alzheimer’s diagnosis with wisdom and courage, often telling people, “You know I have Alzheimer’s. “ We are forever grateful to Judge Abbe Fletman, whose candor, grace, and love in sharing her and her wife’s journey through young onset Alzheimer’s was truly the best guide for our own journey.
 We gratefully acknowledge his health care providers,  Dr. Ronnie T. Beamon, Dr. Peterson Giallanza, Dr. Lee Edgerton, Dr. Robert Moser,  Dr. Lisa Jackson Broyles, and so many from The Charles George VA Medical Center in Asheville. We also thank our care teams at Hospice of the Carolina Foothills as well as the WNC Alzheimer’s Association Caregiver Support Groups. 
A Celebration of Wayne’s life will take place on Saturday, March 12, 2022, at 2:00PM at First Baptist Church Rutherfordton, with reception to follow.
Arrangements are being handled by McMahan’s Funeral Home and Cremation Services, Rutherfordton, NC . 

Memorial donations may be made to one of the following or a charity of one’s choice:

Hospice of the Carolinas Foothills
PO Box 336
Forest City, NC 28043 

Rich & Katrina Boutwell
Wycliffe Bible Translators
PO Box 628200
Orlando, FL 32862-8200

First Baptist Church Rutherfordton
Missions Fund
PO Box 839
Rutherfordton, NC 28139

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Wayne Epley, please visit our floral store.


Celebration of Life
March 12, 2022

2:00 PM
First Baptist Church of Rutherfordton
246 North Main Street
Rutherfordton, NC 28139

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