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Tuttle couple sell restaurant but are far from retired

L.G. and JoAnn Wakefield, of Tuttle, say they stay busy from 6 a.m. to midnight with hobbies and part-time jobs.
BY HENRY DOLIVE Published: May 13, 2012

It's been more than five years since L.G. and JoAnn Wakefield served up their final platters of chicken-fried steak at L.G.'s Cafe on Tuttle's Main Street, but the townspeople have not forgotten the couple.

In fact, word spread so quickly after L.G. Wakefield was in a March tractor accident, that a crowd had gathered by the time the ambulance arrived. The tractor had overturned as he and his son-in-law worked to remove a tree from their acreage on N First Street.

Pinned briefly beneath a wheel, Wakefield, 72, managed to walk to the ambulance. He complained of lightheadedness and was taken to the hospital, but his only severe injury was a tear in his left shoulder.

Doctors took another look at the shoulder last week, and the news was not so good.

“They told me if I don't get it fixed I could lose the use of my arm,” he said.

Strong work ethic

L.G. Wakefield has need of strong arms, as he and his wife have maintained a steady pace since leaving the cafe behind after 30 years in business. Most of their days stretch from 6 a.m. to midnight, he said.

“We stay busy every day. I'm not going to sit in that chair.”

He works 15 hours a week doing maintenance for the Tuttle Housing Authority, mows lawns around town and “tinkers” in his shed.

JoAnn Wakefield, 67, has a housecleaning business, works in their yard and garden, helps take care of their three great-grandchildren and makes sure their residence sports the latest in home decor.

When they sold their cafe in 2006, they thought a leisurely retirement was in their future.

“My sister-in-law was in real estate,” L.G. Wakefield said. “She said she thought she could sell the place, and she did.”

If he had it to do over, “I believe I would have taken a day off here and there and kept the cafe open. We lasted 30 days, and I had to go back to work.”

JoAnn Wakefield said they worked side by side at the cafe, serving at least three generations of Tuttle residents.

“We had two waitresses and a dishwasher,” she said. “Ninety-nine percent of the help was family or close friends.

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