Aubrey Wade, 65, passed away on Saturday, July 11, 2020, at his home in Muskogee, Oklahoma that he
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shared with his partner, Lois Haysler.
Born September 28, 1954, in Fort Smith, Arkansas, he was raised in Cookeville, TN and Wister, OK by his
parents, Lorene Gaw Wade Holland and the late Wavel Wade. He was the Grandson of the late Ridley &
Beatrice Eldridge Gaw and the late Thomas Edd & Lona Belle McKenzie Wade.
Baseball became his first love. While growing up in Cookeville, he excelled as an All-State Catcher in the
youth leagues which he continued throughout high school and beyond. Recognizing the passion his
nephew, Thomas, also had for the game, he would often talk about being recruited by the Cincinnati
Reds to play in the minor leagues as motivation in the hopes that he would follow in his footsteps and
build on the dream they both shared.
In 1972, he graduated from Wister High School in Wister, OK. He later attended Tennessee
Technological University and studied Forestry where he reawakened his lifelong love of nature and the
environment which he passed along to his children, grandchildren, nieces, and nephews.
Trained as a Master Butcher by his father and grandfather, he worked in the Meat Processing/Packing
and Grocery/Retail Industries since he was a teenager. In 1993, his dream of owning a meat processing
business became a reality in Beebe, Arkansas. Throughout his life, he has managed multiple stores for
various grocery store chains and assisted in restructuring the industry. He recently worked for his
longtime friend, Bill Johnson, before he retired in March of this year.
He had an undeniable talent for preparing, grilling, and smoking meat of any kind. The Bad Boys BBQ
team he led competed in and won multiple competitions in Tennessee and across the Southeast. His
spectacular secret BBQ sauce was an amazing concoction that he changed constantly depending on the
meat. A full stomach and smiles on everyone’s faces was priceless to him.
In August of 2005, Aubrey immediately packed his bags and traveled to the Gulf Coast after Hurricane
Katrina ravaged the shoreline and devastated thousands. He worked tirelessly with FEMA to restore
homes and rebuild communities. In his later years spent in Muskogee, he would often organize events
to help friends that he considered family that had suffered loss. Always with a heart of gold (that he
said came from his Momma), he strived to make the world a better place and would give 110% to make
that happen for so many. He would often say, “Leave a place better than how you found it.”
He was raised in the church and loved to talk about his relationship with the Lord. He was so proud to
begin a ministry in multiple neighborhoods where everyone was invited to gather on a neighbor’s porch
and have meaningful discussions about Jesus and the Lord where anyone from any background or
religion was welcomed and embraced.
Aubrey never met a stranger and was always the life of the party. His greatest love by far was his family.
As a devoted father, grandfather, and great-grandfather, he strived to preserve the family heritage, and
would often tell his children and grandchildren stories that had been passed down from multiple
generations of his family. He had that distinct Southern charm that was a magnet for everyone who
knew him. His laugh could be heard above all, and served as a reminder of how he always tried to live
his life in the moment soaking it all in while admiring the scenery. As an avid Outdoorsman, he was at
his best and at peace in the woods whether it was in Tennessee, Oklahoma, or Arkansas. He loved to go
hunting, fishing, hiking, camping, exploring caves, and was a fervent golfer.
In addition to his mother, his family includes his daughter: Amber Wade of Muskogee, OK; a son: Justin
(Meghan) Decker of Grapevine, TX. Two sisters: Janet Wade (John) Ensor of Baxter, TN; Pam Jacene (Ed)
Maguire of Norman, OK. Two brothers: Jerry (Susan) Jacene of Cookeville, TN; Dustin (Elizabeth) Wade
of Fort Smith, AR. Nine grandchildren: Kelsi Wade (Bradley McCormick); Mikala Lowrimore (Tramel
Porter); Marlie & Maddox Lowrimore; Sydney, Analis, Derc, Jax, & Carson Decker. Two greatgrandchildren: Brenton Wade-McCormick & Mi’Lani Porter. Nieces & Nephews: Elana (Josh) Hammons;
Hailey Ensor; Thomas Ensor; Martin Maxwell; Jimmy, Dylan, & Wyatt Wade. One Aunt: Willene Gaw
Gentry of Cookeville, TN. Former spouses & devoted mothers to his children: Debbie Decker of
Heavener, OK & Linda McGrath Wade of Muskogee, OK. Additionally, there is a host of beloved relatives
in Tennessee, Oklahoma, and Minnesota. He loved his family deeply and unconditionally, but was loved
by them more than a thousand words could ever describe.
Always by his side since childhood, Aubrey’s cousin, Dennis Gaw of Cookeville, TN, was his lifelong best
friend & honorary brother. Dennis shared, “He was always my Wingman…he supported me greatly
when I was deployed with the Army during wartime missions. He often told me he would have loved to
have been in special forces. We were like Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid…he was Butch of course.”
In addition to his father & grandparents, he was preceded in death by his two sisters: Anita Wade
McCanless & Carla Jacene Paulk; step-father, James Holland; as well as multiple aunts & uncles.
A Celebration of Life will be on Wednesday, July 15, 2020, at the Civitan Club House, 3301 Gibson Street
in Muskogee, OK at 3 pm.
A Bonus Celebration of Life will be on Saturday, August 1, 2020, at the Gaw Family Homeplace, 1514
North Dixie Ave. in Cookeville, TN at 2 pm.
Lescher-Millsap Funeral Home in Muskogee, OK is in charge of arrangements.
The Family welcomes memorial contributions to the Arbor Day Foundation as an expression of