Rev. Dr. Wayne Leroy Hepler, 69, of 2006 Ridgecrest Circle, Montoursville, died Saturday, Feb. 23, 2013, at his home with his family at his side.
Wayne and his wife, the former Connie L. Beach, observed their 47th wedding anniversary on Sept. 18, 2012.
Wayne was an Air Force veteran serving from 1963 to 1967 in the Strategic Air Command, stationed at Minot AFB, North Dakota, leaving as a staff sergeant.
Wayne was a 1961 graduate of the Williamsport High School, earned an associate degree in business from the former Williamsport Area Community College, bachelor of science degree in sociology from Lock Haven University in 1988, master's degree in Biblical Studies from Trinity Theological Seminary in Newburgh, Ind. in 1993, doctorate of ministry degree with high distinction also from Trinity Theological Seminary in 1996.
He became an associate member of the Central Pennsylvania Conference in 1994, becoming an ordained deacon and in 1998 he took the Wesley advance course of studies in Washington, D.C., becoming an ordained elder.
Wayne was a member of the Susquehanna Conference of the United Methodist Church. After responding to the call of ministry he retired from the former Bethlehem Steel Corp. with 20 years of service before entering into the ministry. He was a United Methodist Minister for the Susquehanna Conference, Williamsport district, retiring in June 2005. During his ministry, Wayne pastored at the Linden Charge, including the churches of Pine Run, Linden and St. John's Chapel, then was transferred to the Lycoming Parish, including the churches of Maple Springs, State Road and Quiggleville, from where he retired.
Wayne was the visitation pastor for St. John's-Newberry United Methodist Church, conducted numerous bible studies and started the Service of Healing Prayer. He was also currently co-pastor at Heshbon Park United Methodist Church until answering the call to come home to be with his Lord Jesus Christ.
Wayne enjoyed hunting, golfing, woodworking, and making furniture. He was a former Sunday school teacher, a former church camp counselor at Central Oak Heights, Lewisburg, former member of the local Board of Ordained Ministry, a member of the NRA, was an avid reader, and a former little league coach when his sons played. He was also a member of John F. Laedlein Lodge 707, F. & A.M. and was a 32nd degree mason. He loved his grandchildren and going to their sporting events, musical programs, and any other activities they were involved in.
Born Sept. 20, 1943, in Williamsport, he was a son of Donald T. and Freda L. (Mitcheltree) Hepler.
Surviving in addition to his wife are sons, Wayne D. (Shirlene) of York, Mark R. (Lisa) of Williamsport and Christopher M. (Shelly) of Montoursville; sisters, Gayle M. (Jeff) Thornton of Atlanta, Ga. and Cheryl (John) Cline of Levittown; grandchildren, Jessica, Jamie, Kaden, Keara, Kambrie, Brennan and Brock; stepgranddaughter, Tasha (Jared) Lehman; stepgrandson, Heath Cipriani and a stepgreat-grandson, Emerson Lehman.
Funeral services will be at 11 a.m. Saturday at St. John's-Newberry United Methodist Church, 2101 Newberry St., with the Rev. Jay E. Jones, the Rev. Dr. David A. Keller and District Superintendent Beth E. Jones officiating. There will be a visitation from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday at Knight-Confer's, 1914 Memorial Ave., and 10 to 11 a.m. Saturday at the church. Burial will be in State Road Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers the family suggests contributions in Wayne's name may be made to St. John's-Newberry United Methodist Church, 2101 Newberry St., Williamsport, PA 17701.
Wayne's family would like to thank Dr. Warren Robinson and his staff, the staff at the Veterans Hospital, Wilkes-Barre and the nurses with the Susquehanna Health Regional Hospice for their assistance in his care.