Wayne Edwin Wade, a 16-year resident of Whitefish, passed away at the Montana State Veterans Home on Jan. 12, 2018 after a long struggle with Parkinson’s disease. His wife, Judy and several dear friends were at his side as he passed peacefully
Wayne was born in Seattle, Washington, on Oct. 11, 1926. He lived most of his early years in Los Angeles. In junior high school, he worked at the famous Schwab’s Drugstore where he made deliveries on his Indian motorcycle to several movie stars including Laurel of Laurel and Hardy and George Sanders.
In April 1944, Wayne enlisted in the United States Navy. He served during World War II and was involved in five major battles. One of the battles was the Battle of Leyte Gulf, which was considered to be the largest naval battle of WWII. Wayne was aboard the U.S.S. Rudyerd Bay while in the South Pacific. He was honorably discharged on Oct. 10, 1947.
After serving in the Navy, Wayne traveled to San Francisco, California to attend mortuary school. In the San Jose area, he worked in several funeral homes and became the Funeral Director of Santa Clara Funeral Home. He was married to his first wife and raised two daughters.
Wayne changed careers in the 70s to become a real estate broker, which he practiced for 20 years and retired in 1991. Shortly after, he and his second wife Judy relocated to Sand Point, Idaho, and built their retirement home on Lake Pend Oreille. After this area became too populated, they decided that land and their dog Koty were more important than being on the water. They moved to Whitefish in 2002 and have resided since.
Wayne was always a very active man with many, many interests. He was an avid sailor of a 28’ Columbia and a 30’ Hunter. He taught a captain of a Windjammer how to wind surf and then went back home and bought his own. He was a top notch skier, both water and snow. There wasn’t anything Wayne couldn’t build. He build a gorgeous motor boat completing all of the work himself. He acted as the contractor when his house in Sand Point was being built. He roofed, built decks, a dock, a succulent wall and an aviary. He also was a talented handyman around his home where there was nothing he could not fix.
Wayne was admitted to the Montana Veterans Home in Columbia Falls where he received awesome and respectful care from the staff who loved him dearly. His wife Judy was there constantly participating in activities offered and taking him on walks around the beautiful grounds. They enjoyed each other’s company right to the very end.
Wayne is survived by his wife of 32 years Judy, his two daughters Deborah Compton from South Ogden, Utah, and Cynthia and Kevin Finnegan of Chico, California. He has three grandchildren, Sabrina, Ryan and Courtney and four great-grandchildren Charlie, Colbie, Hunter, Mimi and arriving in March, Corbin. His dearly loved pet Nettie and Boots miss his calming presence.
Wayne’s handsome smile and beautiful, penetrating eyes will be missed by anyone who had the honor to have called him friend. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Montana State Veterans Memorial Fund.
A memorial mass will be celebrated 10 a.m. on Thursday, Jan. 18, 2018 at St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church. Inurnment with military honors will be scheduled at the Veterans Cemetery in Columbia Falls this spring. Austin Funeral Home in Whitefish is caring for the family.
Condolences for the family may be submitted online at www.austinfh.com.