Saturday, October 31, 2009

Another Real American Hero Passes Into History – And Into the Presence of the Savior

Wayne W. Livesay
June 16, 1922 – October 31, 2009

At about 8:00 this morning, October 31, 2009, the United States of America lost another of its real heroes. My dad, Wayne W. Livesay, passed out of this earthly life into the presence of the Savior he loved. He has now been reunited with my mom, Anna Ruth Livesay, his wife of sixty-two years, who went on before him in 2007. He was eighty-seven years old, although I believe all that he suffered over the years aged him excessively and gave him the body of a ninety-five year old.

His last few months, weeks, and days were not pleasant. He did not, as is so often said, “pass away after a long illness.” He was actually quite healthy in many ways, taking only two medications and having a normal EKG yesterday, the day prior to his death. In his case, it would be most accurate to say that he “passed away after a long bout with old age.”

My dad was not famous, but he did more for his country than most of us could ever imagine. He fought and bled for the freedom we all enjoy, even for the freedoms of those who today spit on the flag and make a mockery of the liberty we have in this country. His thirty-three missions in B-17 bombers were many beyond the average life-expectancy of bomber crews in World War 2. His nine months as a prisoner of war in Germany took a toll on his body that caused him to suffer until the end of his life.

In addition to his service to his country, he had a long life of service to the Lord, serving as a pastor and church planter, teaching adult Sunday school for many years, and presenting the gospel of Christ to unbelievers. His life’s verse was Galatians 2:20, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”

We will miss him, but we are thankful that he is now at rest and at peace in the very presence of the Lord Jesus Christ.


My dad’s brother, Arthur Livesay of Pennington Gap, Virginia, has suggested that it would be most appropriate to ask that in lieu of flowers, donations be made in my dad’s memory to the Sue Livesay Memorial Scholarship Fund. I agree with him, since my dad was a faithful supporter of the fund.


  1. Sorry for your loss. Thankfully this world is not our hope!

    Thirty-three missions in B-17 bombers?!

    Wow! I don't know much but I know enough to know that 33 B-17 missions is impressive.

  2. You are right Stan. Very few survived a full tour of 25 missions. My dad did that, went home, and volunteered to go back.

  3. Sorry for your loss, Ron. In my opinion, Wayne Livesay was a great man and I was inspired by some of his writing (especially his sharp, sarcastic letters to the editor). I am glad that I had the opportunity to know him a little bit and serve him in his old age.

  4. What a dad, husband, son and friend to be proud of!

  5. Ron,

    I was honored to be able to call him 'Grandpa Livesay' these last 6 years. I will miss talking to him when I am visiting you and mom.

  6. Marylee Norick (for the whole Williams family)November 3, 2009 at 9:28 PM

    What a wonderful friend Wayne was to our family for over 50 years! We first met him when he and Ann began coming to Napa, from Travis Air Force Base, to help our small congregation, then meeting in Napa’s American Legion Hall. Our church flourished under Wayne’s wonderful Bible teaching and, thanks to him and other dedicated preachers, this same church just celebrated its 50th anniversary and is one of Napa’s largest! But besides being a wonderful man of God, Wayne was also a very special friend, through so many years. In 2003, when Wayne was 81, he got into his car and made the long drive, alone, from Riverside to Napa, to attend my father’s funeral and say goodbye to him. It showed the kind of man Wayne was and the kind of life he always led. He was a such a wonderful man and we will miss him, but we are also happy that he is now in Heaven with the Lord he served and reunited with the wonderful wife he missed so much.

  7. Ron, I'm sorry to hear about your father's home-going. You will be in our prayers.

  8. Ron,

    I hadn't checked my e-mail for several days so didn't open your's until just now (Weds. Morning). However, my sister Jacqui called earlier this morning to inform me of your dad's home going, having just heard of it this morning herself via Stella Nuncio.

    Your dad was a fine man of God for whom I had much respect. I can't recall anything negative concerning the character and conduct of either of your parents and had plenty of opportunity in my youth to observe them at church and even more so in your home.

    Your father was one of the few men besides my own father who had a significant impact on my life. I have always looked up to him with admiration and respect -- and your mom too.

    One incident for which I respect your dad concerned my own misbehavior in a church service while we were still meeting in the Legion Hall. I don't recall what I did wrong, but I do recall your father approaching me privately after the service to reprimand me for my misbehavior. I think my respect for him was the reason his reprimand cut so deep -- right to the core of my heart -- an experience I have never forgotten and that elevated my respect for him even more. He wasn't at all unkind in how he spoke to me, but he was straight forward.

    A couple of other things I remember is how firm he was about your obedience to his instructions. I recall a time that you must have failed to trim or mow the lawn on a timely basis. The consequential punishment was to make you cut the strip of grass between the driveway and the neighbors property by hand with a hand trimmer. Thankfully he didn't make you cut the whole front lawn the same way.

    I also remember the many times that I inadvertently slammed the door to your house when we would be coming or going some place together. It seems that every time this happened that you got the blame instead of me, because he would always begin his reprimand with "RON" instead of "DAN." Thanks, Ron, for being such a good friend by taking the blame for me. I've always suspected that your dad knew it was me who slammed the door, but for some reason you always got the blame.

    I'm quite certain that it was your dad who told me that the only reason one inmate at the prison was there is "because he threw his wife's pajamas out the window." Then he paused for a few moments before adding, "the only problem was that his wife was in them." Over the years I've retold that story on several occasions.

    Please extend my sympathy to Dennis and to your families. We know your father is with the Lord, but he will be missed until you see him again in the air.

    Your friend,


  9. Ron -

    I too have been negligent in reading emails of late and just had the opportunuty to read about your Dad's homegoing. I racall many fin times at your home and it was a true pleasure to be your friend growing up (well at least one of us grew up). Your Mom and Dad always welcomed us with open arms to your home, it was a symbol of the open arms that Jesus welcomed him home to be with Him in heaven. I'm sure Saffire and Sue are happily showing Wayne around his new heavenly home. What a glorious day it will be when we shall see what your Dad is experiencing right now. May God bless you and your family as you miss being able to be with your Dad.

    God bless you and the entire family.

    Ken Groza

  10. Ron, I just happened upon your blog and noticed the tribute to your father; I am very sorry for your loss (and yet rejoicing for him). I am honored to have met him and believe him to have been a hero of our nation and our Lord's service. I recall with admiration the first time I met Mr. was at the hospital in Kingsport during Arthur's heart surgery. Though he could not move swiftly or speak without great effort he shuffled his feet through the hallways and passed out gospel tracts to anyone he could...he simply approached them and humbly and silently offered them the tract. He leaves a great legacy of faith. Again, my sincere condolences for your loss.

    Grace & Peace,

    Matt (II Timothy 3:15-4:5)


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