Wayne Leroy Secrist, born January 8, 1928, in Millerstown, PA, passed away on October 23, 2019, at the age of 91 in Lexington, South Carolina. He grew up in Millerstown and enjoyed working for his father in the family milling business there.
Wayne graduated from Millerstown High School in 1945. He was active in High School athletics and was a member of the high school basketball team that won the Perry County championship in 1945. He also played trombone in the high school band.
Wayne attended Susquehanna University in Selinsgrove, PA for two years. He played for both the college baseball and basketball teams.
In 1947, he went to work for three years with the PA State Highway Department’s testing laboratory.
Having missed the 2nd World War, he was at the top of the list to be drafted when the Korean War began in July of 1950. He spent two years in the Army, one of which he was stationed in Korea, and was discharged as a Staff Sergeant in 1952.
After service in the Korean War, Wayne worked for two years for an automobile parts store in Harrisburg, PA.
He married Gloria Leone Weibley in 1954 following her graduation from West Chester State Teachers’ College.
Wayne started his career in the insurance industry with Pennsylvania Threshermen & Farmers’ Casualty Insurance Company of Harrisburg. During that period, both of the couple’s daughters were born, Lori in 1958 and Lisa in 1960. He moved to his next job opportunity with Bankers Insurance Company of Gettysburg, PA in 1963. His career path followed to Little Aetna (later Cigna in Hartford, Connecticut). In 1978 the company transferred him to Charlotte, NC. In 1982, the Aetna Insurance Company was part of a merger which resulted in the formation of the CIGNA Insurance Company. As a result, Wayne and his family were transferred to the company’s Macon, Georgia office. He retired from Cigna in 1988 in Macon, Georgia after more than 30 years.
Wayne always had a passion for aviation. In 1974, he started to take flying lessons. That led to gaining his private pilot’s license in 1980. With his license in hand, he joined the Civil Air Patrol and retired 20 years later as a Lieutenant Colonel. He flew his last flight at the age of 74 in 2002. He amassed 1,000 hours of air time with 450 of those as pilot-in-command.
In retirement in 1990, Wayne and Leone moved back to Charlotte, NC. There, Wayne worked part-time performing audits for Cigna.
In 2002, the couple moved to the foothills of NC in Etowah. Wayne worked part-time with the AVIS transport team in Asheville, NC. Wayne retired from AVIS in 2009.
In 2015, Wayne and Leone transitioned to a retirement community in Tryon, NC. In 2017, they moved to another community in Lexington, SC to be closer to family.
Volunteer service was always important to Wayne. He rose to District Deputy Supreme Tall Cedar as part of more than 60 years as a Mason with the Blue Lodge Masons as well as additional service with the Shriners in Hendersonville, NC. He volunteered with the Charlotte Police Department and the Sheriff’s Department of Brevard County, NC.
A gentle, loving, caring father, husband and friend, he is survived by his wife of 65 years, Mrs. Gloria Leone Weibley Secrist of Lexington, SC, his daughter Lori Secrist Carriker and husband Bob of Charlotte, NC, daughter Lisa Secrist Burney and husband Mike of Blythewood, SC, his grandchildren Carson Burney and wife Noel, Connor Burney, Logan Burney and wife Maggie all of Columbia, SC, Lyndsey Carriker of Charlotte, Mariner Carriker and wife Emma of Arlington, Texas, his great-grandchildren, Christopher Carriker and Desiree Birchfield of Charlotte, Madison, Mason and Emerson Carriker of Arlington, Texas.
A military honor service will be held at 1:00 pm at the Fort Jackson National Military Cemetery, Columbia, SC on November 1, 2019.
In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting donations be made in the name of Wayne Leroy Secrist to Shriners Hospital for Children, 950 W Faris Rd, Greenville, SC 29605 or Mills River Life Enrichment Center, 137 Old Turnpike Road, Mills River, NC 28759.
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