Clifford Wayne Wexler Jr., 78, of Pullman, passed away Thursday, Oct. 31, 2019, at the Robville Adult Family Home in Pullman.
He was born May 9, 1941, to Clifford Wayne Wexler Sr. and Eileen Lugar Wexler in Colfax. He had two brothers, Fred Hugh Wexler II and Kenneth Christian Wexler.
Wayne attended Pullman Public School, graduating in 1959. He attended Washington State University for his freshman year.
After receiving an appointment from U.S. Congresswoman Catherine May to the U.S. Naval Academy, Wayne left for Annapolis, Md., in June of 1960. He graduated from the Academy in June of 1964.
After graduation he completed his Naval Flight Training in Pensacola, Fla. In March of 1967, he was deployed with the Patrol Squadron 42 Neptunes and was stationed in Saigon, Vietnam.
He served with honor as a pilot. Twelve planes left to fight the good fight but only seven returned during this deployment. It was a sacrifice Wayne never forgot. In 1968, he was again deployed to Vietnam, this time at Cam Ranh Bay. After the overseas deployments, he used his skills as a pilot and became a flight instructor stationed at Whidbey Island in Washington. Wayne was always proud of his Navy years and so grateful that he had that opportunity to serve his country.
In 1969, Wayne returned to civilian life and his hometown. He worked on the family farm until 1970, when he began his long banking career, first at Bank of Pullman. In 1973, he moved to Farmington State Bank where he worked for 30 years, serving as the president for many years. He enjoyed his years commuting to Farmington from Pullman. He made many friends there and helped numerous people with their finances.
On May 8, 1971, Wayne married Nancy Downen of Pullman at the Simpson United Methodist Church. They made their home in Pullman until Wayne’s death. They welcomed their first child, Jennifer Lynn, in 1972, followed by two sons, Jeremy Lance in 1975 and Jason Leland in 1977. They have been blessed with two grandsons, Lukas Finn in 2005 and Milo Reece in 2008. A stepson, Ryan Anthony, was welcomed into the family in 2006. Wayne was preceded in death by a premature grandson, Bjorn Michael.
Wayne retired from banking in 2003. He became an active member of the Maynard-Price American Legion Post 52, where he served in many capacities, including post commander. He was a member of the Lions Club, and an active supporter of WSU athletics and served as president of the Whitman County Cougar Club. He followed WSU football, volleyball, mens and womens basketball, track and baseball. Wayne was a track official for the Pullman Comets Track Club and Pullman High School, working with Mike and Sue Hinz for many years. Wayne was a member of Trinity Lutheran Church.
He was well known for his integrity, and known fondly as a lovable curmudgeon. He enjoyed golf and his weekly poker game with his buddies, and he was a strong conservative who liked watching Fox News.
Wayne is survived by his wife, Nancy Downen Wexler; daughter, Jennifer (Tony) Krall; sons Jeremy (Dita) and Jason (Amanda); grandsons Lukas, Milo and Ryan; brothers Fred and Robert (Connie Downen); and many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents, Cliff and Eileen Wexler; and his brother, Kenny Wexler.
Services will be held at 11 a.m. Friday at Trinity Lutheran Church, 1300 N. E. Lybecker Road, Pullman. Pastor Wesley Howell will officiate. The family will greet friends at a visitation from 3-6 p.m. Thursday at Kimball Funeral Home, 905 S. Grand Ave., Pullman. In lieu of flowers, gifts can be made to Coach Michael Hinz for the Comets Track Club, the Pullman High School Track Program, Trinity Lutheran Church, or the Regional Theatre of the Palouse.
Thanks to the many dear friends who have helped and supported Nancy and the family during these difficult months. They would also like to thank Rob and Carol Ndambuki at Robville Homes and Elizabeth his loving caregiver. Online condolences may be sent to www.kimballfuneralhome.com.