Wilbur L. Sayles, 86

Published 2:54 pm Saturday, November 26, 2011

Wilbur Sayles

Wilbur Lloyd Sayles, 86, of Austin, Minn., died Saturday, Nov. 19, 2011, at Sacred Heart Care Center.

Wilbur was born Feb. 21, 1925, in Austin Township to Claude and Aleeta “Maude” (Staley) Sayles.

He attended Enterprise School and graduated from Austin High School in 1942. As a youth, he was involved with the Enterprise 4-H Club. He played piano, accordion and bass horn, starting his own musical band during high school. He began performing professionally at age 13, playing for local dances. In those years, he remembered being paid $1.50 per night for playing a four-hour dance.

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He attended Austin Junior College but left school to enter the Army in 1944. He served in the U.S. Occupation Forces in Austria, working in General Mark Clark’s headquarters in Vienna.

Upon returning home, he toured the upper Midwest with the Viking Band. He later toured with the Scandinavian Band. He owned and operated a music store south of Austin for many years.

He married Marlyn Johnson in 1949 at the Little Brown Church in Nashua, Iowa. They lived their entire married life in Austin Township.

Wilbur was a member of the United Methodist Church since 1954. He served as Lay Leader for several years. He became active in musical evangelism, with his first outreach in 1965 in Portland, Ore. This work led him to missions all across the U.S., Central and South America.

He developed and distributed a weekly radio outreach, which was aired by hundreds of radio stations across the United States and also in African missions. He created weekly programs for nursing homes, which were distributed at no cost as a residential devotion program.

He retired in 2002. He was active in the Austin Kiwanis Club for many years and was a lifetime member of the American Legion.

He continued to enjoy church and family activities until his physical health declined, requiring him to move to a health care facility. The family gives special thanks to the staff at Sacred Heart Care Center for their kindness and excellent care during his stay there.

Wilbur loved his Lord, family, gospel music and church activities. He enjoyed traveling and meeting new friends, loved popcorn, custard pie, Sousa marches, Fourth of July fireworks, the Mower County Fair and maple nut ice cream. He will be greatly missed by his family and friends.

Wilbur was preceded in death by his brother, Harlow Sayles and son-in-law, William Magoon.

He is survived by his wife, Marlyn Sayles, Austin, Minn.; daughters and son-in-law, Sharon (Darrell) Babcock, Rosemount, Minn., Beverly Magoon, Boone, Colo.; grandchildren, Brent (Nicole) Babcock, Ross Babcock, Gina Higgs (Linette Griffy), Kathryn (Chance) Henninger; great-grandchildren, Avery, Rowan, and Paige Babcock, Corey, Hannah and Preston Higgs Jr.; Naylen, Laiken and Liam Griffy, Jason, Tyler and Makenzie Hudson, Scarlett Henninger; many nieces, nephews and cousins.

Funeral services will be held 11 a.m., Monday, Nov. 28, at First United Methodist Church with the Rev. Marilee Benson officiating. Visitation will be from 4 to 6 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 27, at Clasen-Jordan Mortuary. There will be no reviewal at the church on Monday. Private Family interment will be at Enterprise Cemetery.