Gale Lee Wade was born January 20, 1929 in Melva, Missouri and died peacefully on January 16, 2022 at his home in Dysartsville, NC surrounded by his beloved South Mountains. Gale grew up in Southern Missouri where he developed his strong work ethic, later moving to Bremerton, Washington in 1942 where he excelled in baseball and football in high school.
He graduated from Bremerton High School in 1947 and signed a professional baseball contract with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947. He played professional baseball for 15 seasons including two stints with the Chicago Cubs in 1955 and 1956. His career ended in August, 1961 after being hit by a pitched ball that permanently damaged his eyesight.
It was in 1949 after playing with the Asheville Tourists that he fell in love with the mountains of western North Carolina and chose to make them his home. He is the only member of the 1949 Asheville Tourists Baseball team to ever play in a major league game.
Gale was an avid hunter and hiker but he loved golf the most. He loved playing with his friends at the Mimosa Hills in Morganton before and after retirement. He was an excellent golfer and played at a high level until the remarkable age of 90.
He was a member of the McDowell County School Board representing the Glenwood school district during the seventies and eighties. He served on the initial 1971 governing board of McDowell Technical College and was also a Scottish Rite Freemason, 32nd Degree for 60 years at the Biltmore Lodge #446 in Asheville, NC
He worked for Rutherford Electric Co-op for more than 25 years retiring as District Manager in January 1989. After retiring he and his wife split their time between their home at Sun and Lakes Golf Club in Sebring, Florida and their home in the Dysartsville community. Besides golfing and visiting with their many friends in Sebring, Gale loved the adventure of finding “out of the way” places and boating the many river waterways of Florida.
Gale, had endless curiosity, loved to laugh and tell stories while visiting with family and friends. He and Barbara traveled extensively visiting the National Parks out west and Civil War Battlefields in the east always making time to visit friends and family in Missouri and Washington. Up to the age of 90, he still attended many of his high school reunions in Bremerton, Washington.
Gale is survived by his wife of 59 years, Barbara Ballew Wade, sons, Rick Wade of Illinois, Michael Wade (Regina) of Cullowhee, NC and Scott Wade (Sandra) of Morganton, NC. and daughter, Dawn Robbins (David) of Texas and one sister, June Roberts of Springfield, Missouri.
Gale is survived by his grandchildren, Whitney Wade (Perry) of Nebo, NC, Gardiner Wade of Illinois, Billy Wade of Wisconsin, and Vanessa (Kurt) Mueller of Wisconsin. He is survived by 5 great grandchildren, Tucker, Gavin and Aubrey Wade, Lincoln Milligan and Remi Taylor. He is also survived by his sisters- in- law, Rose Wade of Washington, Dottie Wade of Colorado, Bonnie Lugenbell of Missouri, and Eugenia Penland of Asheville, NC. along with many nieces, nephews and numerous friends.
Gale was preceded in death by his father Charley Bass Wade and mother Willie Mae Barnwell Wade; stepfather Earl Holmes, Brothers Roy Wade, Lloyd Wade, Loren Wade, Ed (Bear) Lukenbill, sister Cleta McNett and grandson, Garrett Wade.
Due to the rise in COVID infections, there will only be a private family memorial service celebrating his very full life at Beam Funeral Services and Crematory, 2170 Rutherford Rd, Marion, NC, 28752.
In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to a favorite charity of your choice.