Former Oak Grove grocer remembered as loving family man

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

EMERALD BEACH, MO. -- Wayne Edward Plumlee died on Sept. 9, 2013 at his home in Emerald Beach, Mo., with his wife of 67 years and loved ones by his side. Mr. Plumlee was born July 26, 1925, in Oak Grove and was the only child of Alvin and Ila (Callen) Plumlee.

"He offered good advice to all of us. He was smartest man I ever knew, he had seen a lot in his life time," said Penny Plumlee McBryde, Mr. Plumlee's granddaughter. "He taught us how to fish and ski and drive a boat. He was the best grandfather and the most loving grandfather a kid could ever ask for."

Mr. Plumlee is survived by his wife, Ruby, and two sons, John and Jim of Golden, Mo., and Green Forest, respectively. He also had two grandchildren: Jimmy Ray Plumlee of Berryville and Penny Plumlee McBryde of Carroll County, as well as five great-grandchildren, three great-great-grandchildren, several nieces, nephews and his sister-in-law, Margaret Brandt of Berryville.

"He was a great dad. He was always there for the boys and mom," said his son Jim. "He would take us to ball games and to Tulsa to watch ice hockey games and when we were in school whenever one of us was in sports he never missed a game. He always made time for his family."

On Jan. 26, 1946, Mr. Plumlee married Ruby Ledbetter. They made their life working in Plumlee/Callen Grocery Store. Mr. Plumlee was co-owner of the grocery store in Oak Grove for 30 years and a self-employed truck driver for 10 years after he sold the store.

"I have known him all my life," said Randy High of the Carroll County Heritage Center. "I can remember getting feed and fertilizer from him when I was a little kid. He was a very nice person even though he didn't have a lot to say."

High's father, Ferman, bought the store from Mr. Plumlee in 1978 and was also a member of the American Legion with Mr. Plumlee.

"Well, I tell you what he was the longest and oldest member we had," Mr. High said. "Sixty years with the American Legion. I know he lived kind of far away, but he stayed a member of our post at all times. Also, you couldn't find a finer fellow to do business with than him. He would bend over backwards to help you."

Mr. Plumlee helped restart the American Legion Post 162 in Green Forest as a chaplain after it was dormant for a long time, said former commander of American Legion Post 162 Roger Sauer. A chaplain is a religious or spiritual consultant for former or current military personnel.

"He was a very kind man and a very righteous man," Sauer said. "I would have nothing bad to ever say about him. He was quiet man, unless he was spoken too, but still he was very well spoken."

Mr. Plumlee was a World War II veteran who joined the Air Force in 1943 upon high school graduation and earned two years of college in the Air Force. Wayne earned his wings in 1945.

Mr. Plumlee was of the Baptist faith and was saved in his younger years; he recently reaffirmed his faith. He also loved the outdoors, fishing, hunting, traveling, feeding his birds and watching the deer.

"He had a warm personality, but he didn't go out and socialize like another people do," Jim said. "He was more of a family man. He just liked to fish and hunt. He liked the outdoors and he took us fishing and hunting all the time when we were younger."

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