Passed on April 29, 2022
73 years young
“There Would be Days like This”
In the early morning hours of April 28th began the long Goodbye.”Dear he said…love you Jo…Always love you…. He knew I knew, his journey through his life was beginning to quickly move to a close.I could see it in his eyes.They seemed iridescent instead of ocean blue.
It is difficult to fully characterize Wayne, as he lived such a diverse life. I think the quote below from Muhammad Ali might begin to tell his story.
“The Service you do for others is the rent you pay for your room here on Earth”.
Throughout his life a few thousand or so were impacted by his teaching, therapeutic style, generosity, support, artistic ability, love of learning, sarcastic sense of humor and the diversity of music that sparked his creativity. His impact impassioned generations of our family, friends–old and new, clients, fellow artists, doctors, nurses, veterinarians, members of his softball team, our horses, dogs and the many turtles he saved trying to cross a highway.
So many have offered their thoughts of Wayne, that I have decided to put some of them together to share the assorted brush strokes that molded, fabricated or created the canvas of who he was always becoming:
“Wayne’s heart was the biggest place we had ever been.”
“Loved and respected by many and missed by all.”
“His lessons transcend all boundaries and will endure forever.”
“I’d give my eye teeth to connect just one more time..Our media is different but our language is the same.. Love you man.”
“I will say one thing about your husband, he was there for me, helped me through some difficult times and was genuine in all his efforts.”
“His sardonic wit and banter were hard to keep up with, but we all tried.”
“He posed as a curmudgeon at times when he was exchanging witty comments with his nephew. He was greatly appreciated and as a family we are lessor without him.”
“His loyalty and friendship have been there as long as I can remember.”
We feel cheated because we did not have more time with him.
“Wayne liked to mess with you. He had a perfect sense of humor that led you to wonder ”Is he really insulting me right now? To my face?? Or is he.. Wait no..he is just totally and completely messing with me.Tongue-in cheek humor was his specialty. But until you realized it, it could be rough.
You always knew he cared. He would be there for you if you needed him. I especially learned that, during a difficult time in my life. I felt at my wits end, he literally talked me off a cliff several times and helped me to focus and see a path. And for that I will always be grateful.”
He taught others to focus and see their path.. A lifelong skill..something to be proud of,
Wayne was able to do that for over 40 years as a teacher, friend, a family member and a psychotherapist.
Wayne was always calm, encouraging, never judgemental and always used humor to lighten the mood. He was an excellent listener and a giver.
“Each of the custom pieces of jewelry I have, made by Wayne, will remind me of his huge warm heart and smile. Wayne’s sardonic wit was completely endearing. He was a loyal and dependable friend who lived in WI but with a New York State of Mind. Wayne was a Renaissance man, and with great admiration, a tough S.O.B. when he needed to be.
One of a kind, an artist, Member of the Rose Society, Muskie fisherman, therapist, softball pitcher, horseman, radio host, teacher, problem solver, and an all around good guy to be around..
He loved music. Jazz, Rock and Roll and Blues were his favorites.
He was the coolest guy I ever met. My Dad called him a pisser–a term of endearment. His mom thought he was amazing albeit stubborn.”
Wayne’s kindness was only exceeded by his sarcasm.
Wayne was loyal, centered and measured as the seasons, regardless of activity or decade.
It is known by quite a few that when he ended his dialogue with ”Get a Grip”, it was time for you to do exactly that…on your own.
“Will miss our generous caring neighbor known for his wonderfully dry sense of humor.”
From my own point of view as his wife, Wayne was my once in a lifetime love.
Fishing for Muskie was his passion. He learned how to fish at age 4. At age 40, he caught his first 29 inch muskie. At 43, his first 50 inch muskie, and hundreds of Walleye. Best month was 6 Muskies one October. After age 50, he thought more about fishing than actually fishing.
He loved his horse Ranger. Wayne was an excellent horseman on the ground.
His horse outsmarted him quite regularly when Wayne was astride.
Broke a few ribs, pulled a groin muscle–to name a few. Most frequent words were “Oh shit” as he landed on the ground. Some thought Wayne had changed Rangers name, he said it so frequently. He and Ranger were equal in their stubbornness. I finally got to say..Better Get a Grip Dear…lol…literally.
Wayne left notes all over…Love you notes. Identification tags on pipes. Recipe notes. How-to notes. Call Dean notes. Call Randy notes. Call whoever….to fix whatever. Notes about gifts for his friends and family. We can all hear him laughing: “So Jo–thought I forgot, right?”
His life was painted in primary colors with everything else as an accent. And there were many.
He lived a fruitful and exciting life with many health obstacles to overcome through the years. In the final 3 years of his life he battled Pancreatic Cancer with determination and wit. He was constantly pushing through all the bullshit as he called the issues, to come out stronger each day…until he could not.
His good friend, Walter, who passed shortly before Wayne, upon our first meeting over 20 years ago, introduced himself as: “Hi, I am Walter and what you see is what you get.” Lol. Wayne’s words to live by as well. This was so him.
Wayne paid his rent here on earth 100 fold.
If there are benefits…I envision him hanging out with some of his family, my Dad, our dogs, horses, Walter and misc other friends, blasting Dave Matthews Band so loud I swear I can hear it every night. We all hear him laughing his ass off at all the unanswered questions he left behind as we try to figure out his thought processes…In his true fashion. The consummate teacher…Just google it….
Our grand niece wrote a poem about Wayne entitled ”The Jewelry Store”.
One penny two penny three pennies four
All come down to the jewelry store
Pearls crystals gems and more
So many jewelry
The jewelry galore.
She kinda thought Wayne was a jewelry store, I think.
She had become quite the jewelry designer and fabricator at 10 years old.Wayne was proud of her accomplishments as he was of Walter’s Granddaughter who began learning how to enamel and work with leather at about age 8.
As busy an artist as Wayne was, he always made time to teach the younger generation in the hopes that the skills learned today would help them become better people tomorrow. Patience. Focus. A Path forward that included compassion and helping others.
With unending gratitude to all his Docs:Phelan, Porter, Ehrhardt, Bassetti, Baker, Mian, Reittenger,Hobson. So thankful for the many, many nurses and aides during chemo radiation and hospice, over the last 3 years at the SSM clinics, St. Mary’s and UW hospitals, and the Carbone Cancer Center. Wayne fought a long, hard fight against Pancreatic Cancer. He lived longer than most, but not nearly long enough.
Thank you to Heartland hospice staff who made it possible for him to be home the last few weeks of his life to fulfill his wishes to be able to see the woods and the wildlife, be with his wife and friends. We watched the sun rise and set, rise and set…. And then all was peacefully quiet.
Survived by his wife, Jo, sister Di, and family–El, Lo, Syl, Jenn, Ed,Lex, Jay, Syd, Peyton & AW. Preceded in death by his parents,two siblings and father-in-law.
Of special note, John Phelan, friend and doctor who, since 2004 has always been there for Wayne and I, going above and beyond, was there with him through the end. A promise that gave Wayne confidence and laughter for the last part of his journey. For that one act of selflessness, There are no words.
His friend Dean, who was like a brother, helped to provide Wayne the peace that we all hope we have when it is our time.Randy’s humor and similar love of music helped Wayne smile everyday.His nephew Jay helped keep the fight and laughter in him all through his treatment for three years straight.
And for all our friends, neighbors and family who were terrific during the last three years and continue to be wonderful…love.
So many have asked where to donate in Wayne’s memory.
He would be honored, I am sure, if you are thinking of donating to the “The Second Chance Fund”.
We have been active over the years in helping them raise money to help animals get a second chance.
Wayne was all about giving people and animals Second Chances and supporting local organizations.
Go to: https://thesecondchancefund.org
The Second Chance Fund was founded by Lodi Veterinary Care to provide a solution when an animal with a very treatable disease or condition is forced to face euthanasia because of finances, the Second Chance Fund provides an alternative.
You can scroll down once you are in the website…to the Section called “Donate Now”.
Click on “General Donation”.
The first donation drop down category under General Donation will say “in Memory of Wayne Houston”. Click on that…And continue.
Thank you all.
A Private celebration will be held later this year.
Thank you all for being a part of Wayne’s painting that was so uniquely his life.
J&W & Bailee XOXO
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