Walter 'Rusty' Wade, JRB Memorial Fund co-founder, dies at 65

By Land Line staff | 1/25/2013

Sirius XM Satellite radio driver personality Walter “Rusty” Wade died Thursday, Jan. 24, after recently being diagnosed with cancer.

Wade, better known by his CB handle “Yoda,” was one of the founding members of the JRB Memorial Fund. The nonprofit group helps truckers with life costs such as rent, food and utilities. They also provide transportation options and logistical planning in times of disaster relief.

Since the group was founded in January 2012, they have issued more than $28,000 in relief to 36 drivers in need of assistance.

Wade, who has been a trucker since the early ‘70s, was also a huge advocate for the trucking industry and an active lifetime member of the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association. He most recently was an owner-operator leased to M&M and was living in Brundidge, AL.

OOIDA Executive Vice President Todd Spencer said his first real awareness of Wade was through Dale “The Truckin’ Bozo” Sommers radio show when it was still on WLW overnight years ago. Wade called into the show regularly.

“When you had the opportunity to personally interact with Yoda, those things that he cared about passionately were always right there. He didn’t care what anyone else thought,” Spencer said. “Rusty was a very, very unique individual. Obviously, he was passionate about trucking. But he was passionate about many, many other things. Anything he got behind, he got behind completely, unabashedly. You always admired his enthusiasm and creativity.

“He was one of the beautiful, unique people that make up trucking,” Spencer said. “There’s no shortage of people’s lives who have been enriched and will have benefited by having had a relationship with him.”

Wade is survived by his wife, Mary. There will be no funeral according to Mary’s sister, Ruth Craig. Wade donated his body to the University of Alabama for research purposes.

“As far as memorials go,” Craig wrote in a note to Land Line Magazine on Friday, Jan. 25, “Mary is requesting that people gather together to remember him and take a shot of 40 Creek (obviously not if they are driving) in salute of him.”

Friends and family can also send condolences to the family on Facebook.

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