Oscar David Wooton Jr.(1925 - 2017)

Oscar David Wooten Jr. of Franklin, N.C., died May 7, following several months of illness. He was born March 7, 1925, in Glendale, Fla., the oldest child of Rosalie DeShazo and Oscar David Wooten Sr.

An injury during birth impaired the use of his right arm, preventing him not only from participating in sports as a child, but also from serving in the military during World War II. He wanted to do something for the war effort, though, so he worked in the Panama City shipyards in the construction of the military cargo vessels known as liberty ships.

Following the war, he attended King College and the University of Florida, then relocated to St. Augustine, Fla., to take a new job. Though raised a staunch Presbyterian, he visited Ancient City Baptist Church, where he walked into a gathering of young people and saw a pretty red-haired girl playing the piano. That's my future wife, he said to himself, and on Christmas Day 1948 he and Betty Gaines were married in Ancient City's sanctuary.

Ten years and two sons later, he and Betty moved to Clermont, Fla., where he began a career in banking with the Citizens Bank of Clermont. In subsequent roles, he also served the Bank of Florala (Ala.), and graduated from LSU's School of Banking of the South. During the years in Clermont he was an active member of the Lions Club and troop leader for the Boy Scouts of America.

When his move to the Bank of Florala required a relocation, the family, now including two daughters, lived in Paxton, Fla., and he became active in local politics. When Paxton's mayor could not finish out the last half of his four-year term, Oscar was tapped to fill the role, and he went on to be elected to another full term as mayor. During this time he took flight training and realized a dream of becoming a small-plane pilot. He combined that with a love of photography in a side business in aerial imaging, which his family suspected was really just a way for him to justify to Betty the time he spent in the plane.

Paramount in Oscar's life was his dedication to Christ and the church, and he was always ready to share his faith wherever he went. He served as a deacon in Grace Baptist Church in Clermont and First Baptist Church of Florala.

After he and Betty retired to Franklin in 1991, he was active in Iotla Baptist Church and the Civil Air Patrol for as long as his health permitted, and he logged many hours as a volunteer with Macon County CareNet, a ministry to those in need.

He is survived by his wife of 68 years, Mary Elizabeth "Betty" Gaines Wooten; sons David (Cathy) and Dwight (Julie); daughters Ann Gunter and Jean Stephens (Bobby); son-in-law Sammy Gunter; grandchildren Elizabeth Acton, Laura Wooten, Heather Bongers (Ray), Jacqui Mason (Justin), Charles Wooten (Kate), Laurie Norton (Ryan), Mary Margaret von Herberstein (Edouard), William High (Hannah), Bob Stephens (Gina), and Jo Lynn Stephens; brother Walt Wooten (Peggy) and sister Kitty Wilcox (Willy); brother-in-law Mark Gaines (Carole) and sister-in-law Nancy Gaines. Fifteen great grandchildren also survive, along with several nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by a brother, Dwight Wooten; a sister, Betty Wooten Wood; and a brother-in-law, Bob Gaines.

A funeral service will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Friday, May 12, at the Iotla Baptist Church, Nantahala National Forest, 1537 Iotla Church Rd, Franklin, NC 28734.

In lieu of flowers, gifts can be made to the Tract League, 2627 Elmridge Drive, Grand Rapids, MI 49534 or the Little Bible Ministry, 2783 E. High St. #2, Pottstown, PA 19464.

Macon Funeral Home is in charge of the arangements.

Online condolences may be made at maconfuneralhome.com.

Funeral Home

Macon Funeral Home
261 Iotla St Franklin, NC 28734
(828) 524-5540
Published in The News Leader Group on May 11, 2017