Wayne Thornsberry


Wayne Thornsberry, a beloved figure in the community of Cantril, Iowa, passed away peacefully at his home on October 24, 2023, at the age of 78. Born on August 16, 1945, in Kirksville, Missouri, Wayne was a devoted family man, a dedicated public servant, and an avid outdoorsman who left a lasting impact on the lives of many.

The son of Alfred and Vercie Fern (Deberry) Thornsberry, Wayne spent his early years in Memphis before moving to Mt. Sterling as a child. He graduated from Van Buren High School in 1963 and, following a period living and working in Chicago, returned to his roots in Mt. Sterling. It was there, while working at Sheller Globe in Keokuk, that he met the love of his life, Judy Kay Freeman. The couple was married on May 8, 1965, at the Methodist Church in Memphis, Missouri, and soon after, Wayne began his long and distinguished career with the Van Buren County Secondary Roads Department, eventually retiring as an assistant engineer.

In 1969, Wayne and Judy moved to their forever home in Cantril, where they raised their three sons, William, David, and Jon. Wayne was an active and respected member of the local community, serving with the Cantril Fire Department and First Responders and participating in Cantril Grass Roots. His love for the outdoors was infectious, and he channeled that passion into his involvement with organizations such as Serve Outdoors and Pheasants Forever, he was a lifelong member of the Coyote Hunters Association.

Wayne was not only a fervent fisherman and hunter but also a lover of wildflowers and a dedicated builder of birdhouses, many of which continue to provide homes for the birds of Van Buren County. His contributions to the planning and development of Lake Sugema were significant, and he found great joy in spending time at the lake, which held a special place in his heart.

Wayne’s memory will be cherished by his wife, Judy, his sons, William Shaw of Fairfield, David Thornsberry (Karoline) of Douds, and Jon Thornsberry of Cantril, his four grandchildren, Ryan Thornsberry (Seaira), Sarah, Taylor, and Zane Thornsberry and a niece, Kathy Shafranek . He also leaves behind a host of friends who will miss his warm spirit and generous heart.

Wayne was preceded in death by his parents, Alfred and Vercie Fern Thornsberry, his sister, Anne Helmick, and a grandson, Drew Thornsberry. His passing leaves a void in the lives of those who knew and loved him, but his legacy will live on in the community he served so faithfully and the family he adored.

Visitation will open at 2:00PM with family present 5:00 to 7:00PM at Cranston-Pedrick Funeral Home in Keosauqua on Monday October 30, 2023.  Memorials in Wayne’s honor to Serve Outdoors may be left at the funeral home or mailed to the family at 209 West North Street, Cantril, IA 52542.  Friends may leave online condolences at www.cranstonfamilyfuneralhome.com

In the spirit of Wayne’s love for the outdoors, consider spending a day in nature, enjoying the beauty of the wildflowers, the song of the birds, or the tranquility of a lake, as a tribute to his memory. Remember Wayne, not with sadness, but with gratitude for the time we had with him, and for the many ways he enriched our lives

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