"And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, “Write: for these words are true and faithful.”
~ Revelation 21: 4-5
A Life Full of Laughter, Listening, and Love
Waverly Bedford, Sr., aged 86, of Charlotte, North Carolina, closed his eyes to this world and opened them to eternity on August 24, 2023. Born on April 5, 1937, in Cullen, Virginia, to Nettie Womack Bedford and Anderson Bedford Sr., Waverly was a man of great principle, humor, and an endless capacity to love.
Waverly's life story began in a small Virginian town but quickly expanded to cover vast geographies and diverse experiences. After graduating from Central High School in Victoria, Virginia, he married his soulmate, Eunice Lee Arvin, on June 16, 1962. Their matrimonial bond spanned over six remarkable decades, marking 61 years of shared dreams and memories. This enduring union saw the birth and nurturing of four cherished children: Arvin Deneen Bedford, Dr. Chandra Alisa Bedford-Williams (Habieb), and Michael Bedford (Michelle). Their family experienced the heartbreaking loss of Waverly Bedford, Jr. With time, the family tree further branched out, bearing the fruits of eight wonderful grandchildren: Ashley Jessica Williams, David Habieb Williams, Anastasia Bedford, Brianna Alexis Williams, Kayla Brittany Strayhorn, Kaylyn Tiffany Strayhorn, Julian Bedford, and Kyle Joshua Strayhorn.
True to his character, Waverly was drawn to service and community; he joined the Masons at a young age, wearing his ring every day as a testament to his commitment and ideals. Enlisting in the U.S. Army led him to Colorado Springs, where the couple welcomed their twin children, Waverly and Arvin. A sense of duty accompanied him in his military service, providing a backdrop for the many fascinating stories he would later share. After his military chapter, Waverly moved his family to Brooklyn, New York, before settling in St. Albans (Queen), New York. His working life in New York City began at Barton's Candy Factory but soon shifted lanes, quite literally, as he became a bus driver for the New York City Transit Authority. Even retirement couldn't park his love for driving and serving the community; he continued driving coach and school buses, his hands as steady on the wheel as they were when holding his grandchildren.
Waverly was a man of faith, reading the Bible daily and living its teachings with a devotion that was almost pastoral. Many will remember his spontaneous sermons, stemming from a desire to minister. His deep baritone voice would rise and fall, quoting scriptures with the same passion with which he cheered at his grandchildren’s events or regaled family with stories from his army days. He will be sorely missed by his retirement community friends who led them through many Wii bowling championships and bid wiz competitions. Waverly was a competitive man who inspired his team to stay focused on the end goal, which was to beat their opponents.
Waverly was born to the loving arms of Nettie Womack Bedford and Anderson Bedford Sr., who preceded him in death. He leaves behind his surviving brother, Johnny Bedford, and two devoted sisters, Evelyn Berniece Bedford, and Sallie Watson (William). He was also preceded in death by five brothers—Anderson Bedford Jr. (Pat), Charles Bedford (Barbara), Thomas Bedford, Jerome Bedford, and Daniel Bedford (Rosemarie) —and two sisters, Mariah Watkins (Douglas) and Mary Bedford. Also welcoming him into heavenly rest were his esteemed father-in-law Joe T. Arvin Sr., cherished mother-in-law Estelle Laura Arvin, beloved brother-in-law Joe T. Arvin Jr., and two dear sisters-in-law, Frances Louise Baronette (Noel) and Mary Helen Hicks (James).
Waverly's life was filled with the warmth and care of numerous nieces, nephews, other close relatives, and a multitude of friends. His legacy is not just one of lineage but of the countless hearts he touched and the lives he influenced. In our memories, his spirit remains undying, a beacon of love, strength, and unity. Generosity marked his interactions, a welcoming aura that attracted people from all walks of life. Conflict was foreign to him; in Waverly's world, laughter was the only language that mattered. He would often say, “Why hold a grudge when you can hold a conversation?” His humor wasn't just an icebreaker; it was a bridge to understanding, compassion, and enduring relationships.
Waverly was an unconditionally loving son, brother, father and grandfather. Although he loved all his grandchildren equally, Brianna and Kyle held special places in his heart. When he called Arvin or Chandra, their names would come first, their latest achievements and joys providing him with yet another story to share, another reason to smile.