William C. “Bill” Wakefield, 94, passed away peacefully in the late morning hours of Saturday, June 6, 2020, D-Day.
Per Bill’s wish, there will not be a public service. The family will celebrate his life privately.
For those who wish to honor Bill’s memory, rather than a donation, the family requests spending time with your kids and grandkids. Share stories from your childhood, take a drive around Winfield, explaining people and places of generations past. Bill liked things simple. He will be dearly missed.
Bill was born Jan. 15, 1926, to Earl F. Wakefield and Anna E. (Cameron) Wakefield. He was a lifelong Winfield resident, graduating from Winfield High School in 1943 and from Southwestern College in 1947 with a degree in chemistry.
Bill served his country in the U.S. Navy, first from 1944-46 and again from 1951-54 during the Korean Conflict. Between terms he returned to Winfield to complete his college education. While helping students with a chemistry lab in March 1947, he met the love of his life, Martha Osterhout. Bill and Martha married on Jan. 25, 1948, at Grace United Methodist Church in Winfield. They later welcomed four children: Nancy, Jane, Jill and William II.
After his time in the service Bill joined his father in the family oil business, becoming the president upon his father’s death in 1975. Bill moved the company in 1984 from Wichita to its new office at 2121 E. Ninth Ave., in Winfield. Although the rigs had long been sold, Bill still monitored oil prices daily and maintained an active interest in a variety of oil and gas companies.
Bill’s hobbies included hunting, fishing and bowling. He spent many years chasing bobwhite quail and was a crack shot even in his old age. Before heading into the field he would always ask the bag limit, then announce he would only need to pack that number of shells as he never planned to miss a bird.
Fishing was a true passion for Bill. First bass fishing, but later crappie because that’s what he liked to eat. Along with fishing buddy Jim Rogers, he owned R&W Lures in Lamar, Mo., for several years. He traveled the country fishing in Ray Scott’s B.A.S.S Tour professionally from 1977-92. In his own words, “I never did any good, but I sure had fun.”
For as many years as his body would allow, Bill was a bowler. He participated in leagues locally as well as in Wichita. Similar to fishing, Bill was fortunate to travel the country participating in bowling tournaments as well. While in Las Vegas in 2009 he was presented with 25 years of service to the USBC Championships. From start to finish, Bill was always a student of the game.
Bill was raised in the First Christian Church, later attended First United Methodist Church, and enjoyed services at Rest Haven and Cumbernauld Village, respectively. He was a member of the VFW, the American Legion, and a lifetime member of the NRA.
More than anything, Bill loved his family. Whether it was fireworks at Otter Creek, football games and wrestling matches, or great-grandkids splashing in the pool, Bill had an impact on all generations, leaving memories that will be cherished for years to come. He was so proud of them all and relished any opportunity to spend time with them. It was not uncommon to catch him bragging about each and every one of them to anyone who would listen.
Bill was preceded in death by his parents, Earl (1975) and Anna (1982); as well as his wife, Martha (2010).
He is survived by his daughters, Nancy (Ron) Smith, of Kittredge, Colo., Jane Pipes, of Winfield, and Jill Wakefield, of Eugene, Ore., and his son, William II (Donna) Wakefield, of Colorado Springs. Also sharing this loss are 12 grandkids, 13 great-grandkids, and some very special fishing and bowling friends.