Wayman O. Leftwich, Jr., 89, of Raleigh, NC died Thursday evening, June 20, 2013 at The Rosewood in his Cypress community home. Lefty made family a priority as a loving husband, father, brother, brother-in-law, uncle, and grandfather. His caring spirit was evident throughout his life journey as witnessed by his friends, church, and professional colleagues.
Lefty was born February 10, 1924 in Atlanta, GA. He was proceeded in death by his parents, Wayman O. Leftwich, Sr. and Theodora Fowler Leftwich, and his wife of almost 60 years Bernice C. Leftwich. After moving to Charlotte, NC at age twelve, Lefty graduated from Charlotte Central High School where he was active in student life and captain of the football team. After high school, Lefty attended and graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a Bachelor of Science degree in Commerce. There he joined Naval ROTC and became a Naval Reserve Officer and served in WWII. Upon his return to UNC, he became a member of Delta Sigma Pi, business fraternity, and graduated in 1946. After college, Lefty was hired by General Electric in their Bridgeport, CT management training program. There, he met Bernie, a GE home economist, and they married in June 1950. US Navy recalled Lefty during the Korean Conflict where he served as the chief gunnery officer on a destroyer until 1953, later honorably discharged in 1956.
Lefty returned to GE in Atlanta, GA with Bernie where he began a stellar career in the major appliance industry that took them to Louisville, KY, Bloomington, IN and back to Louisville. Lefty was a major force on the marketing team that successfully launched GE’s side-by-side refrigerator with water and ice maker, the first of its kind. He rapidly rose to one of GE’s corporate vice presidents before leaving in 1980.
Lefty’s second career explored a new avenue in the restaurant industry when he joined Golden Corral and moved with Bernie to Raleigh, NC in 1980. He guided a growing group of company owned stores into the world of franchising while serving as a director on Golden Corral’s Investors Management Corporation board. His communication skills, analytic problem solving, and ability to look at the big picture made him a valuable asset to Golden Corral and to the rising stars he mentored.
Golden Corral offered Lefty the opportunity to return to his beloved Tarheel State. He whole heartedly supported UNC sports in person or watching it on television, participated in UNC alumni events and encouraged the UNC excellence of higher education.
Lefty and Bernie loved to travel together for business and pleasure and always made time to play golf and entertain their friends and family. Tar Landing Villas at Atlantic Beach provided them a coastal paradise for relaxation where Lefty actively served on their board of directors. Lefty was a lifelong supporter of the Boy Scouts, a mason of the Palestine Lodge in Atlanta, GA, a frequent bell ringer for the Salvation Army, a member of North Ridge Country Club, and a member of North Raleigh United Methodist Church.
Lefty is survived by his sister Ann E. Leftwich of Atlanta, GA; daughter Betsy L. Landaker and husband Larry Landaker of Wimberley, TX; son Thomas W. Leftwich and wife Delia W. Leftwich of Greenville, SC; and grandchildren Holly E. Landaker of Portland, OR; Olivia G. Leftwich, Bradley D. Leftwich and T. Walker Leftwich of Greenville, SC.
The family wishes to thank all of the kind, professional and supportive employees of The Cypress of Raleigh, especially the health care heroes at The Rosewood.
A memorial service will be held on Friday, June 28, 2013 at 11:00 am at North Raleigh United Methodist Church, 8501 Honeycutt Road, Raleigh, NC 27615. Interment will follow the service in the church columbarium. The family will receive friends at the church immediately following the service.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to the Bernice C. Leftwich Scholarship Fund, c/o North Raleigh United Methodist Church. Condolences can be sent to the family at www.BrownWynneMillbrook.com