JOEL WAYNE LAZENBY
10/29/1930 – 12/25/2021
Joel “Wayne” Lazenby crossed peacefully into the arms of his Savior on December 25, 2021. Wayne was preceded in death by his beloved Mary and his youngest son, David. He is survived by his daughter, Sharon Gunther, and his son, Mel Lazenby, his four grandchildren, Kendra Purtell, Andrea Black, Adrienne Lopez and Joshua Lazenby, and a host of great and great-great grandchildren, and friends.
Wayne was born on October 29, 1930 in Altus, Oklahoma, to Austin Elmo Lazenby and Ruth Eloise Carpenter Lazenby. When he was 12-years old, the family moved to California. As a child, Wayne worked in the fields. Missing school to work the crops made it difficult to keep his grades up and he never grasped his own intellectual ability. It did not occur to him to expect more than a life of hard labor. Then Mary Lavina Ruston moved to California. Wayne fell hard! Within three months, on September 21, 1950, they were married in Flagstaff, Arizona. Mary encouraged Wayne in all his endeavors, including finding less labor-intense employment.
In 1952, during the Korean conflict, Wayne was drafted into the army. Promotions in the army were on hold, but Wayne’s exemplary work earned him a promotion to Sargent before his discharge in 1954. While in the Army he passed his GED. After the Army Wayne worked as a stock clerk for the Fresno branch of the California State Board of Equalization. He used his GI bill to go to college to become an auditor. As he raised his family, Wayne took classes, rising in the ranks of the Board. He studied hard. He worked hard. His promotions led him to move his family to Bakersfield, CA in 1959.
In the summer of 1965, the Lord captured Wayne’s heart, and he, along with his family of five, gave their lives to God. He attended the First United Pentecostal Church. Wayne was offered a lucrative promotion that required a move to another town. He declined so he could stay and support his church and pastor. Wayne believed his success at the Board was the result of God’s blessing because he put God first. Before his retirement, Wayne was promoted to Administrator over three counties for the State Board of Equalization.
He was a man of high energy. After work he either went to church, or worked in the yard, or worked on or built a house. When traveling with his three young children he led them in song fests to while away the hours. His children recall the annual two-week camping trip where he instilled a love of the great outdoors. His kids and grandkids never doubted his love, both because of his actions and because he frequently told them, “I love you big time!” He loved people and found them interesting. And he had a great sense of humor. Wayne teased everyone, including his nurses.
Wayne retired in 1996 and loved traveling with his wife, Mary. He enjoyed his recreational vehicles and was teased by friends about the many trailers and trucks he bought and sold. Well into his 80’s he enjoyed playing golf and romping in his beautiful back yard with all the grandchildren. He said, “I play with the kids because it is fun for me.”
When Mary passed away on September 13, 2010, Wayne lost his luster for life. He spoke of her often and missed her severely. In October 2017, his health declining, Wayne moved to Southern California to be near his three children.
Wayne’s is a beautiful story of rags to riches and God’s abundant blessings as described in Psalm 23:6, “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”
He often said, “I’ve had a great life, haven’t I?” And he did.
Graveside Services will be
Saturday, January 8, 2022, 11:00 a.m.
Greenlawn River Blvd
3700 River Blvd
Bakersfield CA 93305