The Reverand Wayne Lorriane Pontious, age 80, died at 7:40 p.m. on Monday, May 5, 2008, at his home.
He was born on August 26, 1927, on the family farm in Neosho County near Erie, KS, to Vere and Lela Fern Talbot Pontious.
He attended Excelsior Country School, graduating early, then attended Parsons High School and Parsons Junior College.
At age 17, he joined the Navy, serving 13 months until World War II ended. After returning home, he then went to Chicago to pursue studies in music at the American Conservatory of Music, earning both a bachelor’s and master’s degree. He taught in a high school and privately for two years there.
On October 25, 1954, he married Mary Jo Sabatini, a registered nurse from Chicago. They continued to live there while he taught music.
After the birth of three girls, he was called to holy orders in the Episcopal Church. In 1959, he and his family moved to Wisconsin to attend Nashotah Episcopal Seminary, graduating in 1962 with a master’s degree in divinity.
He then took his family to Bluff, UT, where he became Vicar at St. Christopher’s Mission to the Navajo for ten years. He did great work there. While there, two boys were born to the family.
After the death of a daughter, the family returned to Kansas in 1972 to live on the family farm with his widowed father.
He became the priest of St. Peter’s Church in Pittsburg, KS, for 12 years. He then became a missioner for the Diocese of Kansas for several years, then remained at St. Andrew’s Church in Fort Scott, KS, until his retirement in 2003. He also served at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Parsons, KS, and helped many churches in the surrounding area.
Survivors include his wife, Mary Jo, their children, Alice (Atta) Pilram; Ann (Jamal) Kharoufeh; John (Julianna) Pontious; and Mark Pontious; ten grandchildren; and two brothers, Gary and Melvin.
He is preceded in death by his parents, daughter Mary Jane, and brother Merlin.
A memorial service is planned for 3 p.m. on Sunday, June 1, 2008 at St. Christopher’s Mission in Bluff, UT.