Obituaries » Albert J. Wakeman
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November 12, 1925 - June 7, 2018
Albert John Wakeman was born in Binghamton, New York, November 12, 1925 to Howard Vermilia Wakeman and Hazel Esther Carey, who planted God’s joyful love in his heart, taught him to read, and to share in the chores of their goat dairy and laundry.
Drafted just before high school graduation in 1942, he volunteered for the Navy, learned diesel mechanic skills, and served in World War II on a PT boat until his honorable discharge in May, 1946. Veterans benefits enabled him to complete college at Bob Jones University, which felt like heaven after the rough life of the navy (B.A. 1950, M.A. in theology 1952). There he was invited to teach Greek , and found he enjoyed it so much he decided to become a teacher—and to continue his travel adventures, by teaching in Afghanistan. While preparing, he met Thelma Nesmith of Jacksonville, Florida; they married in 1954, went to the University of Michigan where he completed an M.A. in Linguistics (1955), then moved to Kabul with daughter, Esther, and had three more children while there, Wally, Carol, and John. In 1962, the family returned to Ann Arbor, where he taught and did further study at the University of Michigan, until 1969, when he began teaching at Malone College in Canton, Ohio. In 1976, he left teaching and put his practical skills to work at Weber Dental and Canton Meter Devices until retirement. Al and Thelma had the joy of sharing God’s love through teaching English to Afghan refugees in Pakistan from 1995-96. In 1999, they moved to Pandora, Ohio, to be close to family; Albert died peacefully there surrounded by his children on June 7, 2018.
Survivors include his children, Esther (Robert Collins) Wakeman of Chiang Mai, Thailand, Wally (Liz) Wakeman of Vancouver, Washington, Carol (Mark) Williams of Pandora, Ohio and John (Lara Brown) Wakeman of Ann Arbor, Michigan; fifteen grandchildren; twelve great-grandchildren; a sister, Alma Briggs of Georgia; sisters and brothers-in-law, Iva Huffingham, Carolyn Capp, Ann and Howard Beardslee, Beth and Bill Weitzel of Florida and numerous nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Thelma, and his brother, Earl Wakeman.
Al and Thelma were deeply appreciated for their friendships and warm hospitality shown to hundreds, young and old, in all their homes. Al’s deepest desire was to be a faithful apprentice of Jesus Christ. Al continued to love and serve through teaching, even in death, by donating his body to Wright State University medical school.
A celebration of Al’s life will be held in the summer of 2019 in Pandora.
Memorial donations may be sent to Le Pelican, a school for impoverished Afghan children (http://www.lepelican.org/How-To-Help).