Vernon Franklin Wade, “Sputters,” age 86, of Big Sandy, TN, passed away at his home on June 30, 2022. He was born in Big Sandy on January 16, 1936, the son of the late Jesse and Cora (Davis) Wade. Vernon graduated from Big Sandy School in 1954. While in high school he played basketball and baseball. He married Clara Merrell on June 11, 1955. Vernon and Clara moved to New York City and then to Connecticut. While in the northeast, he worked various jobs in construction. In December 1971, he moved his family to Tennessee where he and his beloved wife designed and built the family home. Vernon began working at Vanguard Services in 1972 and retired in 1993. He then began Big Sandy Boat Works in 1998. Vernon was also active in the community by serving on the Benton County Board of Education from 1992 to 2002. On a national level, he traveled with his wife to Washington, D.C. to participate in the Right to Life March in 2009. Vernon enjoyed numerous hobbies including playing the banjo and guitar, listening to, and singing bluegrass and gospel music, building and flying model airplanes, designing and building boats, and playing with his grandchildren. He loved to entertain family and friends with stories of his childhood in Big Sandy. Vernon was saved on August 10, 1974. He joined the First Baptist Church of Big Sandy and was ordained as a deacon in 1983. In 2003, Vernon became pastor/elder at New Hope Covenant Fellowship. He preached his last sermon May 1, 2022.
Along with his parents, Vernon was preceded in death by brothers James F. Wade, Joseph Wade, Max Wade, and Milton Wade, a sister, Sue Ryan, and a granddaughter, Laura Mandrell. He is survived by his wife of 67 years, Clara Merrell Wade of Big Sandy, daughters Wendy (Bob) Hicks of Big Sandy, Constance Wade of Paducah, KY, Susan (Marty) Caruthers of Big Sandy, sons Vernon Wade, Jr. of Big Sandy, and Tim (Wanda) Wade of Goodlettsville, TN. In addition, he leaves behind sixteen grandchildren, twelve great-grandchildren, and two great-great grandchildren.
Visitation with the family will be held from 4-8 p.m. Saturday, July 2, 2022, at the Stockdale-Malin Funeral Home Big Sandy and from 2-3 p.m. Sunday, July 3, 2022, at the First Baptist Church in Big Sandy with services beginning at 3:00 p.m. Burial will be at the New Hope Church Cemetery.
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