|Dwight Stephen Lefner, 77, of Bethel died June 1, 2008, in Peoria,
A memorial service will be at 11 a.m. Thursday at the Bethel Moravian Church with Pastor Grant Shimanek officiating. A potluck will be after the service.
Dwight Lefner was born July 2, 1930, in Brownwood, Texas, to the late Stephen Granville Lefner and Mary Elizabeth (Weedon) Lefner. He attended high school in Texas and Virginia before he and his mother joined his father overseas in Germany after World War II. Dwight served in the Air Force during the Korean War. He attended Port Arthur College in Texas, where he obtained Radio-Telephone First Class, Radio-Telegraph Third Class and Amateur Radio licenses. Shortly after, he married Glenna Green of Brownwood, Texas. Later, he attended Amarillo College in Texas and obtained certificates in electronic test equipment and advanced electronics.
He spent 13 years with Braniff Airways, mostly as a radio operator in Amarillo, Texas, where he pursued his commercial instrument flying license. For 13 years, he was active in amateur radio operations in Amarillo, including two years as director and coordinator of the Panhandle Amateur Radio Weather Net, a radio network between towns of the Texas Panhandle. By 1966, he and his family had moved to Tucson, Ariz., where he worked for Hughes Aircraft. In 1968, he moved his family to Bethel.
Dwight originally worked for White Alice, which became RCA and eventually Alascom. He was based in Bethel and traveled to the villages to install many of the first telephones in Western Alaska. Dwight's entrepreneurial spirit began to emerge and in 1980 he formed his own company, D&G Express. The family business has expanded to include a car rental agency, an airport terminal and other facilities in Bethel.
Dwight had his own "mission" through the years; he used his personal plane to carry missionaries, volunteers and equipment to churches and retreats around Western Alaska. He was very active in the Bethel Moravian Church and the Assembly of God, serving several years on the Board of Trustees. Dwight also volunteered for three years on KYUK radio doing the "Christian Gospel Music Show" on Sunday mornings. He helped start KJBA radio, which is now known as KYKD.
Dwight was one of the original members of the Bethel Chamber of Commerce and belonged to American Legion Post 10.
Dwight's love for travel took him and Glenna to many countries and remote places all over the world. His favorite trips were those that were involved in missions, whether it would be bringing medical supplies or clothing and such to Russia or dedicating a new well for fresh water in parts of the Philippines.
Dwight was a member of the Classy Classics Antique Car Club in Wickenburg, Ariz. He devoted much time to restoring two vehicles, a 1929 Model A Ford Roadster and a 1931 Ford Model A Staked-Bed Truck, which he purchased from the original owner.
Dwight will be greatly missed by his wife of 55 years, Glenna; two sons, Michael Lefner (and wife Mary) and David Lefner (and fiance Mary); grandchildren, Justin Lefner and Jenna Lefner; other family members, Jonathan, Emily and Tyler; sister, Nyo Lowe of Brownwood, Texas; and two "grand-dogs," Bear and Penny Lane.
He was preceded in death by his parents and a sister, Wanda Fields, who lived in Kodiak.
In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be made to the Alaska Bible Seminary, PO Box 2084, Bethel, AK 99559; or to the donor's favorite charity.