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Francis Marion ‘Buddy’ Wakefield, 92, known as ‘Harmonica Man’ for giving away 6,000 harmonicas

Francis Marion “Buddy” Wakefield
Francis Marion “Buddy” Wakefield

Francis Marion “Buddy” Wakefield, of Williamsburg, died gently Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015, at his home in Colonial Heritage. He was 92.

At the time of his passing, Eva Mae Hebert Wakefield, his loving wife of 70 years, was at Buddy’s side and he was surrounded by his family.

Buddy was the son of the late James Frederick and Dolly Wakefield. In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his sister, Mae Rose Wakefield; brother, Frederick Wakefield; and son, Frederick Denton “Denny” Wakefield.

Buddy was born on May 26, 1923, in Chattanooga, Tennessee but he always considered himself a Texan. He served in the Coast Guard during WWII. He met Eva at a USO dance in Texas and married her in 1945. Buddy was a survivor of the Texas City Blast in 1947.

In 1951, he moved his family to Yorktown where Buddy helped build the Amoco Refinery. He worked there for 33 years as fire marshal and instrument/mechanical manager. Buddy also taught firefighting at Texas A & M for 36 years.

He was a 32o Master Mason and belonged to the Masonic Lodge in La Marque, Texas. Buddy loved children of all ages and lived a life of service to youth in Boy Scouts, Church youth fellowship, Job’s Daughters and the Order of DeMolay.

Music was Buddy’s passion. He played in several musical groups and clubs on the Peninsula and in Williamsburg. Everyone knew Buddy as the “Harmonica Man.” Over the years, he gave away more than 6,000 harmonicas.  He taught harmonica to youth and adults alike to help improve breathing problems. He started “Better Breathers” support groups in several hospitals in the area and surrounding states. This program spread across the U.S. and to several countries around the world.

In addition to his wife, Eva, Mr. Wakefield is survived by his daughter, Jerry W. Henderson and husband, John, of Williamsburg; granddaughter, Karen Henderson Hamilton, of Aston, Pennsylvania; grandson, Joshua Denton “Denny” Henderson and his wife Maura, of Berwyn, Pennsylvania; and great-grandchildren, Zachary Ross Stiffler and twins Hunter Edward and Holden Coburn Henderson.

The family wishes to thank Gentiva Hospice for the loving care they gave to Buddy in his final days.

The memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Oct. 3, 2015, at Bucktrout Funeral Home in Williamsburg. A reception and time of fellowship will immediately follow the chapel service. If you were so blessed to receive one of Buddy’s harmonicas, please wear it to the service in his honor.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the American Lung Association, 55 W. Wacker Drive, Suite 1150, Chicago, IL, 60601; Colonial Heritage Community Foundation, P.O. Box 12, Norge, VA 23127; and/or the Sentara Volunteer Group. Please note in memory of Mr. Francis “Buddy” Wakefield.

Please leave online condolences for the family at Bucktrout Funeral Home.

To view the full list of WYDaily obituaries, click here.

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