Herbert “Herb” Wakefield III, a U.S. Air Force veteran and senior systems engineer, died on Wednesday, June 26, 2019. He was 50.
He was born on Nov. 10, 1968, in Philadelphia to Valerie Branham-Wakefield and the late Herbert S. Wakefield II.
Wakefield received his education in the Philadelphia public school system. He was a proud alumnus of the Martin Luther King High School class of 1986. At MLK, he was affectionately known as “Dollar Bill.” He was a student in the first class of the Health Academy. He enjoyed a continued relationship with his high school friends.
Shortly after graduating from MLK, Wakefield enlisted in the Air Force in 1987 and served honorably for 21 years. During his service in the Air Force, he continued his education and obtained an associate degree in information systems technology in 2005. After retirement from active duty, he earned a bachelor’s degree in information systems management with a concentration in cyber security in 2018.
Wakefield was the dedicated father of three children, David Kenneth “Ace,” Herbert Spencer IV “Que” and Rachelle Marie “Baby Girl” from his union with Rachel Brown. For nearly 15 years, he was a devoted single parent who truly cared for his children.
“He was extremely supportive and dedicated, ensuring that he never missed an opportunity to be present as they reached milestones in their lives,” his family said in a tribute.
“He also instilled the importance of education and respect into the children who have excelled academically, spiritually and personally.”
Most recently, he was proud of his son, Que, for graduating with his bachelor’s degree in chemistry and receiving a full scholarship to Johns Hopkins University to pursue a doctorate in chemistry. His daughter, Rachelle, is working toward a bachelor’s degree in public health. His eldest son, David, is working toward an associates degree in kinesiology. In addition, he was a mentor, confidant, coach and role model to many in his community.
Wakefield was baptized at the Goodwill Baptist Church in Philadelphia. At Goodwill, he was an usher, singer and evangelist. He loved God and strived to live a Christian life. He was most recently a member of Mt. Ennon Baptist Church in Clinton, Maryland, where he served on the Culinary Arts Ministry. When he was unable to attend service, he enjoyed watching services via livestream from his home.
Wakefield’s initial employment was at Hahnemann Hospital, where he worked in patient transport. In the Air Force, he was a ground radio operator from 1987 to 1990 at various stateside locations and at Osan Air Force Base in South Korea. From 1990 to 2007, he served at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland as Satellite Communications Group chief operator, NCOIC Awards Special Programs radio operator and electromagnetic spectrum manager. In 2007, he was a national electromagnetic spectrum manager in Alexandria, Virginia. From 2008 until his passing, he was a spectrum manager/senior systems engineer for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Department of Energy.
Wakefield enjoyed fishing, traveling, cooking, family game nights and hosting events at his home. He was an avid Philadelphia 76ers and Eagles fan and enjoyed spending time in his man cave.
His friends saw him as the “go-to” man for recommending the best eateries around town. His favorite restaurant was Little Fish in Waldorf, Maryland.
He was preceded in death by his sister, Brittany.
In addition to his mother and three children, he is survived by: his sister, Lynnelle (Terrence); brothers, Justin (Atiya) and Brian (Selena); seven aunts; four uncles; six nieces; three nephews; and other relatives and friends.
Services were held July 9 at Mt. Enon Baptist Church, 9832 Piscatawy Road, Clinton, Maryland. He is buried in Maryland Veterans Cemetery.
Lee Funeral Homes handled the arrangements.
In lieu of flowers, contributions in his memory may be directed to the Weinberg Intensive Care Unit at Johns Hopkins Hospital, One Charles Center, 100 N. Charles Street, Suite 234, Baltimore, MD 21201.