(1930 – 2018)
Mr. Grady M. Wakefield is a native of Haleyville and a graduate of Auburn University, where he received both B.S. and M.S. degrees in agriculture education. He served in the Air Force during the Korean War. After serving as an elementary school principal in Winston County for three years, he was hired as an Assistant County Agent in Pike County and became County Agent Coordinator in Randolph County in 1965.
In Randolph County, Wakefield’s responsibilities included leading Extension’s Rural Development efforts and he played a major role in helping the county’s local leaders revitalize the faltering economy. These rural development efforts have been a national model. The county hosted visits and study tours for rural development groups from across the Country.
During his tenure in Randolph County, the county’s agricultural focus changed from row crops to livestock and poultry. Wakefield was particularly involved in helping form the Randolph County Poultry Association. Poultry is now the county’s leading agricultural product.
Wakefield received awards for his work including the Distinguished Service Award from the National Association of County Agricultural Agents in 1971, and a number of awards from the state association. He served as president of the state association in 1978-79.
He served on the board of directors for the Auburn University Agricultural Alumni Association, Phi Delta Kappa, and Gamma Sigma Delta national agricultural honorary fraternity.
In 1982, Wakefield was promoted to District Coordinator for the Northeast Region and moved to Decatur, AL where he worked until he retired. After his retirement, the Wakefields returned to Wedowee where he was an active member of the First Baptist Church, the Kiwanis Club, and other community organizations.
He is survived by his wife Ruth, of Wedowee, his daughter Deborah and two grandchildren Justin Daniel and Brian Joseph of Florida.
The editor of the local newspaper, The Randolph Leader, had these editorial comments about Grady Wakefield after his promotion to District Coordinator. “Some people are appreciated most after they are gone. This may have been true of Grady Wakefield, but only partly so. The residents of Randolph County knew there would be pockets of emptiness across the county when he left. After he left for broader, if not greener fields his absence was felt almost as much as his presence had been. Grady Wakefield, thank you for coming our way, for being part of our life, and for leaving us better than you found us.”
The Alpha Pi Chapter of Epsilon Sigma Phi honors and remembers Mr. Grady M. Wakefield by placing his name on the dedicatory plaque of the Memorial Chapel.
Chapel Plaque Inscription Number: 632