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GIA International President Onita Wayland, 1928-2020; Husband Tony Wayland, 1922-2020

INDEPENDENCE, Ohio, January 24 — Onita Wayland, former President of the Grand International Auxiliary (GIA) to the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers, passed away peacefully on January 20, 2020. She was 91 years old. Her husband Tony Wayland, a retired member of BLET Division 620 (Fort Worth, Texas), passed away the next day on January 21, 2020. He was 97.

Sister Wayland served as GIA International President from 2001-2006. She was born in Limestone County, Texas, on February 13, 1928. She graduated from Groesbeck High School in 1945 and met Tony a short time later. They were married on October 26, 1946, and spent the next 73 years together as a happy, loving couple.

Tony was born on October 17, 1922, and was active in sports including basketball, football and tennis. After graduating from Mart High School in 1941, he was signed to play minor league baseball by the Brooklyn Dodgers. His career was interrupted by World War II. He enlisted in the Army and served in the European Theater with the 104th Calvary Reconnaissance Troup (Mecz) and was discharged on December 1, 1945.

After returning to the states, Brother Wayland hired out with the Missouri Pacific Railroad. He eventually worked his way up through the ranks and earned promotion to locomotive engineer. He was a member of the Brotherhood for 51 years. He joined Division 620 on December 1, 1968, and his retirement became effective on May 31, 1984.

Sister Wayland joined the GIA in 1969 and held many offices within the Auxiliary. From 1986-2001, she served the GIA as an International Officer and was elected to the Auxiliary’s highest office in 2001. During her tenure as President, the Auxiliary conducted a nationwide fundraising campaign by selling “Mainline Cooking,” a cookbook containing recipes submitted by railroad families. The book contained humorous quotes, a section featuring railroaders’ stories and tips on eating healthy while working on the railroad.

Tony and Onita lived all their married life in Mart, Texas, where they raised their family in the house Tony, his father, and his brother built. As avid football fans, Tony and Onita followed the Mart Panther football team. Both were active in the Mart community throughout their lives.

The couple is survived by: two daughters, Brenda Fischer and husband, Lee; and Toni W. Daugherty and husband, Roger; grandchildren, Kristen Folley; Kori Wayland Fancher; Steven and Jill Fischer; and Meredith and Chad Dupree; great-grandchildren, Kai and Kade Crawford; Elena Fischer; and Fischer Dupree; and numerous nieces and nephews.

Visitation for both will be held at 10:00 a.m., Saturday, January 25, at the First Baptist Church in Mart (601 East Texas Ave., Mart, TX 76664, (254) 876-2521). Services will be at 11:00 a.m., and burial at 1:00 p.m., at Prairie Hill Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the First Baptist Church of Mart or the charity of your choice.

“Members of the Greatest Generation, Tony and Onita Wayland left an indelible mark on our Brotherhood and our Auxiliary,” BLET National President Dennis R. Pierce said. “On behalf of our entire organization, I extend our deepest condolences to the family and friends of Tony and Onita.”

Friday, January 24, 2020

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