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Wade known for community service, involvement with bird conservation groups

Monday, July 28, 2014 | 6:51 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — Jerry Lee Wade, 73, of Columbia, died at home of cancer Saturday, July 26, 2014. He was born Jan. 29, 1941, in Mason City, Iowa, to Ruth W. (Liptrap) Wade and Joseph Anderson Wade.

Jerry WadeHe attended the University of South Dakota, and earned a B.A. in Sociology, an M.A. in Community Development and a Ph.D. in Rural Sociology at the University of Missouri. Mr. Wade taught at Sangamon State University (now University of Illinois at Springfield) and served as a Community Development Specialist with Extension at MU. With Rex Campbell, he co-authored "Society and Environment: The Coming Collision."

Mr. Wade was a State Extension Specialist for 21 years; a developer and instructor with the Community Development Academy; and an instructor and director of the Heartland Economic Development Course for 14 years. He spent several long-term stays in South Africa, teaching community economic development professionals and conducting workshops in villages. His understanding of rural economic needs was recognized internationally as his Rusty Bucket became the symbol for economic loss and a starting point for regaining community economic strength.

Mr. Wade lived his philosophy of community service. He served 15 years on the Columbia Planning and Zoning Commission, nine of them as chairman; and one term as Columbia Fourth Ward City Councilman. In office and out, he worked with fellow Columbia citizens to empower citizens, strengthen the local economy and plan for growth.

He was president of the Community Development Society and, after retirement, served as president and membership chair of The Audubon Society of Missouri, and was a founder and treasurer of the Missouri Bird Conservation Initiative Foundation.

In the course of 49 years of marriage to Mary Kay Edgington (Edge) a succession of daughters became members of the family, Kimberly, by birth, and Kat, Jane, Nili and Helen by choice. He cherished them all.

Mr. Wade is survived by his wife, Mary Kay Edgington (Edge); a daughter, Kimberly, and her husband, David Bones, of Columbia; two grandchildren, Elliot and Sophia Bones of Columbia; and a brother, James M. Wade of Las Vegas.

A celebration of Mr. Wade’s life was held the day of his death. The attendees of that tribute were testimony to his character and legacy. There will be no other memorial service. As a final act of service, Mr. Wade donated his body to the University of Missouri for medical education.

Those wishing to contribute to a memorial fund for Mr. Wade may do so in his name to a charity of their choice or to either The Audubon Society of Missouri or the Missouri Bird Conservation Initiative, both at 2101 W. Broadway, PMB 122, Columbia, MO 65203-1261.


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