Arvel E. Heafner Jr. peacefully passed away the night of Wednesday, Dec. 14, 2016, at the Wilmington Hospice Care Center. He was born July 11, 1922, the oldest son of Arvel Elon Heafner Sr. and Nola “Belva” Eller Heafner.
He was employed with Bell South at the age of 17 and later drafted into the service during World War II. His experience in telecommunications led him into high speed radio communications, where he served in the 345th SIG Co. Wing, stationed in Italy. After the war, he again worked with Bell South, retiring in 1983 after 41 years of service. He was a sales and marketing manager for Southeastern North Carolina.
Arvel was deeply devoted to his faith and church, Trinity United Methodist Church, where he served in the men’s ministry, Lay Leadership, stewardship campaigns and fundraisers. He sang in the choir and rarely missed a service until his recent illness.
He was a member of the Telephone Pioneers, Exchange Club and Executive Sales clubs. As an avid Braves baseball fan, he enjoyed trips to see them play and watched every possible game on television. Arvel loved golf and played regularly. He was also a longtime member of Hanover Seaside Club.
He was preceded in death by his parents and three younger brothers, Harry, Horace and David Heafner; and first wife, Molcy Kerr Heafner, and their infant daughter, Zinder Ann.
Arvel is survived by his wife of 23 years, Wilda Blair Heafner. Survivors from his first marriage are one son, Gary L. Heafner Sr.; two grandsons, Gary L. Heafner Jr. (Edie) and Wesley P. Heafner (Heather); one great-grandson, Nicholas; two sisters-in-law, Gail and Elizabeth Heafner; as well as nieces and nephews. Other survivors include Wilda’s son and daughter, Johnny Risley (Gail) and Bonnie Prevatte (Rick); six step-grandchildren, Heather, John, Matt (Vanessa) and Kaitlyn Risley, Blair Prevatte Owens (Andy), and Seth Prevatte; and three step-great-grandchildren, Adah Risley, Merrick and Kai Owens.
A funeral service will be held at 11 a.m., Monday, Dec. 19, at Trinity United Methodist Church on Market Street. The family will receive visitors prior to the service at 10 a.m. in the church fellowship hall downstairs. Pastors Laura Mitchell and Jim Summey will officiate the service. A graveside service with full military honors will follow in Oleander Memorial Gardens.
Arvel had a generous heart and loved helping others in need. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Methodist Home for Children Inc., 1041 Washington St., Raleigh, NC 27605.