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August 31, 2007

"I Knew Wayne a Long Time" -- from Jim Maddock

I realize that I knew Wayne a long time. We first met when I was consulting with the staff of Hennepin County Domestic Relations, where Wayne was working in the 1970s. My impression was of someone young and enthusiastic, with a good sense of humor; enthusiasm and humor are not easy to maintain when one is working in public agencies with troubled families. Most noticeable to me at that time—and confirmed by all of our later interactions—was Wayne’s insatiable curiosity; he was always eager to find things out and figure things out.

As a student in Family Social Science, that curiosity drove him to be a passionate class participant and eventually an avid researcher. Though he became quite skillful in working with numbers—even as a student, he was a resource for other students struggling with statistics—his top priority was always working with people. He informally assisted me on several projects where our interests overlapped. I know many others can attest to his generosity with his time and energy. But the most special times I had with Wayne were our theoretical discussions. We both loved to deal with abstract conceptualization. Even as a student Wayne was eager to ask difficult questions and to challenge the ideas of others; in my experience, he always did so respectfully and openly.

I had a special interaction with Wayne as a member of his dissertation committee. To be truthful, he wasn’t happy with me at his final oral exam. I insisted that he add to the concluding section of his dissertation before I would give my final approval. We met to talk about it, and, privately, I could tell him my justification very simply. I remember saying something like: “Wayne, you have previously shared with me some excellent critical thoughts and some extremely creative ideas about the potential utility of your research. But they are not in your dissertation. Why didn’t you include them?? The essence of his response was that some sort of modesty prevented him from giving voice to his ideas as a “mere graduate student,? and he thought it better to “play it safe.? I had never thought of Wayne as particularly modest when it came to his own ideas, but I understood. So we had a dialogue and settled on a compromise: He would add just a page or so summarizing a few things he had come up with that were a little more “out there.? Sometime later, he told me he appreciated my pushing him; in the end, it gave him some more confidence to use his doctoral research as a launching pad for future work. That certainly proved to be true in his development of the Family Caregiving Center.

In later years until my recent retirement from the University, Wayne and I enjoyed a collegial relationship typical of life in Family Social Science. We sat next to each other at some faculty meetings, served on various committees together, shared some tutoring of students, and occasionally had a conversation in depth when our limited time allowed it. But it seemed that one or both of us were always hurrying to be someplace, and our interchanges were more abbreviated than either or us would have liked.

I last saw Wayne earlier this summer when I drove past him walking near the St. Paul campus. We waved as I hurried on to do an errand. Now I wish I had stopped for one more conversation.

August 30, 2007

Words from Aria Elavsky

Dr. Caron was my professor a year and a half ago. During the last week of
class with him I had something very personal and tragic happen to me. It
caused me to miss my final. I expected to either just miss my final and
suffer the consequences or maybe, if he allowed, retake it as soon as I
could. I called him and to talk about this and I remember his empathy most.
He told me to take care of myself and my family and not to worry about the
final until I was ok. I remember his words "You don't even think about
school right now". I was so touched by this. I went to his office a week or
two later and finally took my last exam with him. He was an incredible
teacher who showed great sensitivity. He didn't seem like just another
professor, he seemed like a man with many great talents, one being

Words From Kris Metzger

He taught me
He invested in me
He validated me
He encouraged me
He inspired me
He challenged me
He made me think
And he made me laugh.

Dr. Caron was an exhorter. I greatly enjoyed knowing him and he made a huge impact on my life.

Kris Metzger (Roseville, MN)

Words From Lois Pearson

I was deeply saddened to hear of Wayne's sudden death. Wayne taught us how to maintain our own personhood during the decline of our loved one's Alzheimer's disease. He taught us to not merely survive but to thrive and grow as families and to accept the disease with dignity and love.

Thank you, Wayne! May your family find peace and comfort in God's promises.

Lois Pearson (Bloomington, MN)

Words From Jan Hogan

Wayne was a master teacher for many of us and he was also a wonderful colleague in Family Social Science. You could always count on his wisdom and generosity, his creativity and humor, and his note-taking even during the most boring faculty meetings. Wayne will be greatly missed--we have a big hole in Family Social Science's heart. The visitation and funeral were helpful in our healing. My prayers continue for Chris and his family.

Jan Hogan (Lake Elmo, MN)

Reflections from Trish Olson

I would like to share with you some of my thoughts after attending Wayne Caron’s visitation last night. Wayne was a colleague in the Family Social Science Department and we “shared a wall? – in other words I was aware of his comings and goings and when he turned his music on a bit louder, when he sneezed, and when he laughed – which was often. I will miss my work neighbor.
Many of you do not know him – but there were things shared last night in his honor that feels right to share with all, for they tell a story of how to be a friend, colleague and parent. It is in his honor I share these thoughts.

These are some things I heard last night that I want to share with you – they are a bit random in order – but very meaningful to me.

o He stayed connected with people from his youth and young adulthood. He took the time to stay in touch with friends from high school and other friends he had for 20 – 30 years. He took the time to meet weekly and stay in touch. These friends talked about how much they valued this time together. One colleague shared that it was great to finally meet Wayne’s son who he heard about often, but had never met.

o Which brings up another theme of last night – Wayne’s sharing of his pride in his son Chris. People from all walks of his life were happy to finally meet the young man they had heard about – some since shortly after inception! People who were a part of the Family Caregiving Center talked about Wayne sharing about his son in his work with patients and family member of Alzheimer’s. He didn’t compartmentalize his life. All who knew or worked with him knew he was a proud father.

o Wayne also said to many he “divorced well.? His ex-wife Pam facilitated the memory sharing last night and shared how after their divorce they were good friends and their most important goal was to raise Chris together. It made me think about the importance of our work in the Parent’s Forever program.

o Many commented on the fact that clothing was not a priority to Wayne. Many chuckled at his mis-buttoning his shirts and frayed collars and pant hems. But, the overriding message was he was so good at what he did in teaching and therapy – that his clothing was NOT important to them. We often worry about “setting the table- or looking good? – but people will see through to your true self – if you care for those you are with and have quality information to share – folks will overlook much when they feel valued.

o He was not feeling well the last few weeks – his ribs really hurt. A funny story shared was that he could not find ace bandages – but he did have many unused ties…. He had shared with his son and ex-wife that he had bound his rib cage with multiple ties to help ease the pain. We chuckled at both the use of the ties, the image it gave us and it certainly showed how he perceived a “better? use of the ties than wearing them. It also made me think…. We all need to get medical care and take care of ourselves. It we don’t think we are getting the answers we feel comfortable to get additional perspectives.

o Wayne had a great sense of humor – a teaching assistance shared that during an Intimate Relations class (large class) he asked his two TAs to role play as a couple arguing and he would play the role of the therapist. Later on, prior to the role play, he asked the female TA, to reveal – out of the blue during the role play – that she was pregnant with another man’s child. He felt this would be not only funny (especially on the male TA) – but also realistic for things come out during therapy that are not anticipated. Many chuckled. You know we could have tasks we have we repeat often and turn our self on “remote control.? Wayne took pride in his classes that he taught and taught often and tried to make them fresh to him, his TAs and the students in the class.

o Wayne also didn’t just focus on work. He loved popular books and movies and enjoyed enjoying them with friends. People shared, “If I read a new book I wanted to talk to Wayne about it – for I was sure he had already read it and we could discus it.? There is more to our world than work and work topics. Sometimes we are better at our work because of our interests outside of work.

o Wayne saw a need and met it. Helping people who struggled with Alzheimer’s both the patient and the family caregivers was a goal of the Family Caregiving Center. He quietly helped families in McNeal Hall every Saturday. He developed skills in graduate students, volunteers, and family members in understanding the disease and respecting and helping families as they are impacted (the entire family) with this disease – not only the patient.

o He continued to work on self-improvement. His high school friend shared that the Wayne many new didn’t just happen. He openly shared with his friend new techniques he was trying to make himself a better teacher, therapist, and friend. He then reported on how these self-improvement methods were going. How often do we hear – “well that is the way I am – take me as I am.? I sensed that as Wayne saw ways he could improve he consciously took at behaviors to try to change his behavior. He did not try this in his dress through….

Well – there were many other stories, tears, and laughter shared last night – but those I shared above tribute Wayne’s life on being a friend, colleague, and parent.

Best, Trish

Words from Renee Tepe

As a recent graduate of the Family Social Science, I feel honored to have had
Dr. Caron as a professor in three different classes. I wanted to take as
many classes as possible with him. It was in Intimate Relations that I
finally knew what I wanted to study. He had the ability to make even
Research Methods at 8 in the morning an interesting, and fun class. I have
learned so much from him. He was such a kind, and caring man. My heart goes
out to his family and friends.

Words from Memory Grems

Wayne was a man who lived big. He encouraged me to dream big, and then went about helping me learn how to make those big dreams reality. My sorrow is lessened because I know that he lived life fully, and I doubt he would have any regrets. My condolences to all who will miss this marvelous man, as I will.

Memory Grems (Roseville, MN)

Words from Libby Plowman

Please forgive me if this is longwinded. But my time with Wayne was always
filled to the brim with words! And oh, I could say so much more.

Wayne was my graduate advisor, my number one supporter, my mentor; but most
of all, a friend. The first time I met Wayne, it took about 5 emails to get
ahold of him. He cheerfully told me that it was lucky I learned early on
that it was difficult to get in touch with him. I didn't take it personally
once I saw his schedule. We began talking and realized that our mothers
worked together at NorthRidge in New Hope. Soon enough, we were talking
about St. Therese and all of his old stomping grounds. It was an instant
connection. But even then I didn't realize how lucky I was to be his
research assistant.

During my first year of graduate school, I would come to Wayne's office for
our weekly meetings. I was doing data entry for a study he completed over a
decade ago (and boy were we both excited when I finally finished!). I swear
the only reason he needed me is because he didn't want to enter data into a
PC! When we met, he would be sitting in his chair in front of his Mac, of
course. He would lean back in his chair, propping his neck with his folded
hands, and casually ask me how it was going. I, of course, assumed he was
asking about my research progress. After all, that is what professors want
to hear about, or so I thought. As I started speaking, he would gently
interrupt me, reach his hand out over the table, and repeat himself - "no, I
mean how is it going?" He was talking about life. He reminded me to take
time to reflect, and always knew when I needed it most. Looking back, he
probably knew me better than anyone else at school that first year. I felt
so safe and secure around him; he helped me develop my "academic voice" and
taught me how to stop doubting myself. But most of all, he had faith in me.
Unwavering, unabashed, faith. He was the type of teacher who helped me
answer the big questions myself rather than answering them for me.

During these weekly "therapy sessions", as we jokingly called them, Wayne
would often share memories of his own graduate experience with me. He
fondly recalled how one of his professors would always tell students they
were the next "greats" of family science. For example, "you are the next
Reuben Hill! David Olson! Pauline Boss!" All Minnesota greats, of course. He
told me this story to show me that I was a student being formed and taught
in the footsteps of these great leaders in family science. That the future
had no limits. Wayne, I will forever "fill-in-the-blank" with your name -
you are one of the "greats" and I wish I had the chance to tell you that. I
feel honored to have spent such time with you. You constantly reminded me,
by example and through words, why what we do is important. When I struggled,
you shared with me your sense of purpose. When I celebrated, you were
cheering me on with laughter and applause! And you challenged me. It wasn't
always just fun and games. We weren't afraid to be honest with each other,
and that meant that we sometimes disagreed. But one thing we did agree on
was that we loved that about our relationship. I think Wayne respected me
because I didn't just give in and agree with him - even when he was right
and I knew it! But in retrospect, it just showed how safe I felt with him,
to throw out anything and get feedback. How I wish I had written every word

I know Wayne is somewhere looking down on us, just fuming that his death was
so untimely. I feel so comforted thinking of it how Pam described during
memory sharing - that Wayne is off exploring his new world - so true! But he
would be so frustrated about the unfinished work he had left to complete,
the people he left behind - that's how he was, always concerned about
others. I remember the first time I came to the Caregiving Center. It was
then I realized that he was equally important to others as he was to me. It
will never cease to amaze me how one person could be so much to so many. But
I suppose that is what is so wonderful about the life of a teacher - his
purpose and energy will go on and on through all of the lives that he
touched. None of our work will go unfinished, Wayne!

To Chris: I, as so many others already have, want to remind you that you
were Wayne's pride and joy. How often he told me stories of you and your
adventures during your first year of college. Never was his face so animated
and bright as when he spoke of you! He was so proud to be your father. To
Ruth, Pam, and all of Wayne's family: I feel lucky to have shared in this
wonderful man's life. Thank you for sharing him with us.

Libby Plowman

Words from Cynthia Meyer

Like many others, I continue to sit in disbelief as I think about Wayne's
death. I am in my office, fairly late on Wednesday night, a time when
normally Wayne would be in the office next door to me. I have known Wayne
for over 25 years, first as a fellow graduate student and most recently as
colleagues in the Family Social Science department. I have been thinking
about what I have loved about Wayne: his irreverent humor, his strong
opinions, his ability to connect with so many people irregardless of
background, his dedication to his family, his dedication to his work, his
ability to make a good story out of almost any situation.

I have realized how I have come to depend on Wayne in so many ways. Need a
perspective on university politics? Talk to Wayne. Need an obscure
reference that no one else seems to know? Talk to Wayne. Need support with
regards to a student issue? Talk to Wayne. Need someone to talk to about
some small event from 27 years ago? Talk to Wayne. Need to have someone
re-frame the current situation in a positive way? Talk to Wayne.

It is hard to imagine our community without Wayne. He is, and will continue
to be, missed. I feel very lucky to have known him.

Cynthia Meyer

August 29, 2007

Words From Jenna J

What an inspirational professor! I recommended his class to everyone I knew, and this was because of him. He truly was a "friend" to his students as well as a teacher.

Jenna J (Minneapolis, MN)

Words From Beth Olson

My sympathy to the family and friends of Dr. Caron. It has been a few years ago now - but Dr. Caron counseled me - as my Mother has dementia - He was of great help to me. He was a wonderful person - and I am truly sorry for your loss!

Beth Olson (Minnetonka, MN)

Words From Doug Williams

Bonnie and I were very shocked and saddened to learn of Wayne's death. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends.

Doug Williams (Robbinsdale, MN)

Words From Mary Louise Gooch

Wayne left an indelible imprint on my life. He eased my difficult transition from CA to MN. He was the first mental health professional from MN to welcome and support me into starting over again in the Twin Cities. He supported me with his incredible insight, intuition, warmth, and humor. He was a remarkable man. Thank you Wayne.

Mary Louise Gooch (Minneapolis, MN)

Words From Chris Ackerman

Dr. Caron was an amazing and incredibly inspiring professor. I still find myself quoting him on a daily basis. He taught me so much, not only course material but so much about myself as well. I will miss his energy, sense of humor and genuine care and respect for his students. My thoughts are with his family. He will be missed.

Chris Ackerman (St. Paul, MN)

Words From Jeanine Steffens

Wayne was my cousin-back in the early 1980's I was going thru a bad divorce and needed the help of hennepin county family services for a custody battle. Wayne was working in that department at that time and was there to guide me thru the system. I was so young and scared and I remember feeling safer knowing Wayne was there to explain the system and introduce me to the people who would be helping me. I attending his memorial service tonight-what a tribute to him and the life he made for himself. He certainly touched the hearts of many and will be missed by all the people who knew and loved him. I wish I could have known him better. My thoughts and prayers are with all of you who knew and loved Wayne.

Jeanine Steffens (Maple Grove, MN)

Words From Sahro Mohamud

want to express my deepest Condolences to Dr. Caron's family. He was a wonderful a teacher and he will be greatly missed.
Sahro Mohamud

Sahro Mohamud (AppleValley, MN)

Words From Leah Andersen

Dr. Caron was the first professor I had in the Family Social Science program at the U. He really challenged students to think creatively and participate often. I continued to take as many of his classes as I could before I graduated. He had a way of engaging everyone and really leaving us with something to think about. One day in his special topics class about caring for families dealing with Alzheimers, about four years ago, a fellow student asked Dr. Caron how we were supposed to work with people and care for them without getting emotionally involved. What Dr. Caron said has stayed with me to this day. He said, "Why would you want to work with people and NOT be emotionally involved? If you're not doing your job out of love, you should find a new job."

What a wonderful man. My deepest sympathies go out to his family and friends. He will be missed.

Leah Andersen (Milwaukee, WI)

Words From Jalane Gunderson

As a former Family Social Science student, Dr. Caron was amoung one of my favorite teachers. The endless knowledge he shared, his welcoming presence and excitement will not be forgotten. I had the awesome experience of being able to enjoy two 8 o'clock classes because he inspired my learning & kept me awake. My sympathy & prayers are with all who mourn his loss.

Jalane Gunderson (Inver Grove Heights, MN)

Words From Alex Lekander

Still in shock, I think of Dr. Wayne Caron as my favorite professor. He helped me choose a life track, and I made an effort to take every class he taught in college. We will all miss him, and my prayers go out to the family.

Alex Lekander (Minneapolis, MN)

Words From John Cook

Wayne was a classmate of mine 40 years ago at St. Raphael School. He was the first person I met that actually taught me the proper pronunciation of "Ra-fay-ell" instead of how we used to say it and still say it today, "Ray-feel". After reading of his death, I took time to find our 8th grade graduation class photo from a box of miscellaneous memorabilia I keep. I had the folder-frame signed by all the boys (sorry girls - we were taught to believe that you were invisible - sorry again). Wayne's signature was large and centered with a few cute curly-cues trailing from the "n". Below, in small print were the sincere words "your coach". Even then, at the age of 13, he was my coach, my teacher and my mentor. I regrettably did not keep in contact with Wayne since those formative years, but I wish for his family to know that my memory of Wayne as a coach, a teacher and a mentor will stay in my head and heart forever.

John Cook (Minneapolis, MN)

Words From Richard O'C

I've known Wayne since becoming friends with his son Chris in 6th grade. He was a great man, even though I didn't really figure that out until I got older. The last few times I saw him we had some very fun conversations, and I'm very sad I won't be able to have any more with him. I have Wayne to thank for raising a son who grew up to be a great friend.

Richard O'C (Ashland, WI)

Words From Walter Bera

I am deeply saddened to hear of Wayne’s death. He was so wise and generous of this ideas, help and time to so many people. For me, Wayne was a critical consultant and supporter during my own PhD journey in the FSOS Department and one of its finest professors. My deepest condolences to his family, colleagues and friends. Wayne will be sorely missed.

Walter Bera (Wayzata, MN)

Words From Nancy

Wayne’s smile was more real than any other.
It warmed you when you felt cold and alone.
It was authentic in its caring.
I see that smile now in the obituary.
Today, it does not warm me.
Today, I only know that it is gone far too soon.
Today, it makes me cry.

Love, prayers and support to Wayne’s greatest love - his son, Christopher.
Nancy (Saint Paul, MN)

Words From Andrea Thorson

Dr. Caron was the first exposure I had to the Department of Family Social Science. I took his Intimate Relations course a year before I chose to major in the program. Dr. Caron's passion for learning about families, without a doubt, greatly influenced my decision to study Family Social Science.

During my first semester in the program, I also took his Family Research course. Research is not an appealing topic to everyone, but he made learning about dissertations fun! It is because of him that I value and recognize the importance of research.

I don't ever remember Dr. Caron wearing nothing less than a smile on his face. He always picked a fun song to play during class breaks, especially during Intimate Relations lectures when he matched songs to different love styles.

Although Dr. Caron's drive and love for studying families impacted my life, it is after his sudden passing that I realize it was his drive and love for life which impacted my life the most.

Thank you, Dr. Caron. I will never forget you. To Dr. Caron's family--you are in my thoughts and prayers.

Andrea Thorson (Minneapolis, MN)

Words From Jane Tornatore

Back in the mid-80’s I called FSoS to see if anyone would take on a volunteer who had no experience in family science. They sent me to Pauline Boss who sent me to Wayne. He was my first introduction to the world of Alzheimer’s. He truly cared for people with Alzheimer’s and their families. He helped instill in me a profound respect for people living with the disease and enabled me to see they were people first, not a disease. When I came to FSoS as a graduate student, Wayne offered me the opportunity to lead a support group with him for people who had the disease…one of the first such groups in the country. I always came away with a profound appreciation for his skills as a therapist and group leader. I have continued my work with people with Alzheimer’s and am still leading groups for the people with the disease 17 years later. I had the opportunity last year to sit in on his Saturday morning group and, once again, I saw his passion and ability to connect to people who are often seen as only a disease.

Wayne’s intelligence, fiercely independent thinking, and intuition were a frequent source of support to me through-out graduate school and beyond. He had an ability to inspire, especially when the way looked bleak. Thank you Wayne for everything you obviously gave the world, and to me. You will be truly missed. Christopher, he loved you beyond measure…you were the light of his life. No Dad could be more proud.

Jane Tornatore (Seattle, WA)

Words From Oluwakemi Bolarinwa

I find this very hard and very sad to believe. he was a warmth man. Everytime I wanted to give up, this man gave me second chances till I graduated. I pray for him and his family.

Oluwakemi Bolarinwa now Gbadegesin (Now in Houston, Texas, TX)

Words From Peg Lindlof

Dr. Caron inspired many of us when he gave the keynote address at the MCFR conference on Family Caregiving. He has left a wonderful legacy that I hope will contribute to the healing process for his family and friends.

Peg Lindlof (Woodbury, MN)

Words From Amira Adawe

Dr.Wayne Caron was amazing and talented person. He was one of my best professors at University of Minnesota. It is so sad that i will never see Dr. Caron again. May prayer goes to Dr.Caron and his family.

Amira Adawe (Minneapolis, MN)

Words From Kathleen Bischel Beddow

Wayne had a gift for making each person he talked with feel cared for and know that they had a special relationship with him. Everyone who loved him, as a teacher, a mentor, a friend, or a therapist has a story of how he reached out to them. He was powerful in his gentleness, he treated everyone with deep respect, and he was a brilliant teacher. I had the honor to learn from him and to work with him for the past two and a half years, and he will impact my life forever. I will really miss him.

Kathleen Bischel Beddow (St. Paul, MN)

Words From Deborah Simmons

I am terribly saddened to hear of Wayne's sudden death. The Family Social Science family has lost one of its most inspired, compassionate members. You filled the world with light, Wayne. Namaste, friend. Your light shines on.

Deborah Simmons (Golden Valley, MN)

Words From Hal Grotevant

I am still in shock. Wayne's office is two doors from mine, and it's difficult to walk by. But when I look there, I recall his passion for his work, his life, his friends, his family. He lived fully. One message I take from this, if any can truly be discerned, is that we must live each day. Our lives our short, and we don't know how much time we have on this earth. Live fully. Wayne did. And all of us are the better for it.

Hal Grotevant (Falcon Heights, MN)

Words From Nancy

Wayne’s smile was more real than any other.
It warmed you when you felt cold and alone.
It was authentic in its caring.
I see that smile now in the obituary.
Today, it does not warm me.
Today, I only know that it is gone far too soon.
Today, it makes me cry.

Love, prayers and support to Wayne’s greatest love - his son, Christopher.

(St. Paul, MN)

Words From Jo Musich

Dr.Wayne Caron was a gem of a person! When I met him at the University I wanted to know what started him on such a caring and loving journey through life. He started young and knew his mission in life. He lived fully and will be missed much.
My sincere condolences,
Jo Musich

Jo Musich (Virginia, MN)

Words From Mary McCormick

Dr. Caron was our therapist for the past year. He helped me and Mike cope with Mike's advanced Parkinsons Disease. I learned something at every session and left fortified. I feel quite privileged to have known him. As everyone has said, he had wit, wisdom, and intelligence, all combined with compassion and rare sensitivity. What a mensch. He lifted us all.

Mary McCormick (Bloomington, MN)

Words From Lynn Von Korff

This is too sad and too sudden. The only thing that brings relief is to remember that Professor Caron's warmth, generosity, and engagement as a mentor and teacher will live among the many students, families, and others he touched. I still remember how he held up the assigned text on the first day of his course, Families and Aging, many years ago. He warned us that the material was very difficult, but, he assured us, it was unquestionably the best text for the course. To this day I remember the excitement his words generated. He was saying to us "you matter as people and as learners; I do not take you or your curiosity for granted." He delivered on the promise too; his course was outstanding. I will always be grateful for his willingness to talk with me as I clarified my thoughts and writing about gender and caregiving. He will be missed and missed deeply. He cared so much about people and the effects of aging on those we love. My heart goes out to all of you as we grieve his loss.

Lynn Von Korff (Minneapolis, MN)

Words From Shirley Baugher

I returned from Minnesota this evening to my new home in Bowling Green Ohio. When I opened my e mail and found the announcement of Wayne's death, I was shocked. Such wisdom, passion, and love he shared in his youth! I recall our conversations about the "meaning of life" and can't quite grasp that he has left this space. I am thankful to have been graced with the gift of knowing Wayne. My heart reaches out to his family..his many "families".

Shirley Baugher (Bowling Green, OH)

Words From Theressa Burns

Dear Wayne,
you taught me so much about the meaning of family--just like my dad did. we also had something in common about using our thoughts--out of context--you told me--do your own work and let him fail. thank you my dear friend.

theressa burns (st paul, MN)

Words From Ken Stewart

I knew Wayne for many years as a fellow graduate of Family Social Science. Ever so often, after a meeting or conference we'd meet for beer to share stories, gossip, and generally enjoy each other's company. He was a dear sweet man, a scholar, a teacher, and a good friend.

Ken Stewart (Roseville, MN)

Words From Sarah Sehm

While I had only had the opportunity to spend two days with Dr. Caron this summer for his Family Social Science special topics class, I realized that I was not only seeing an outstanding scholar but a very genuine, all- around great human being, who really cared about the well being of his students. I was honored to have been taught by Dr. Caron, and he will be greatly missed next week when we were to start family research. The University of Minnesota has lost one of its greatest assets.

Sarah Sehm (Blaine, MN)

Words From Carmen Graumann

Inside the gigantic hole in my heart lies the seeds of learning Wayne planted over our 6 years together at the Family Caregiving Center. In learning to be a therapist, he taught me to be human with my clients. In learning to be a voice for others, he mentored me into the power of stories. In learning to live illness, Wayne gave me a vision of living in transcendance without perfection.

My Saturdays will forever hold a place for him.

Carmen Graumann (Falcon Heights, MN)

Words From Barbara Bell

My thoughts and prayers go out to Dr. Caron's family. I met Wayne only once for a family/friend memory session and he gave me hope and left a lasting impression of his knowledge and kindness. He will be missed.

Barbara Bell (Minneapolis, MN)

Words From Jen Reinke

Dr. Caron was a great professor. His insight, personal antecdotes, and passion for relationships were what inspired me to enter the field of Family Social Science. I cannot put into words what a kind, encouraging, and approachable person Dr. Caron was.

Jen Reinke (Minneapolis, MN)

Words From Kathy Pierce

As so many have already said, Dr. Caron was one if the most incredible people. He has touched my life in a way I will never forget. He understood the challenges I was facing, and continued to encourage me to reach my goal, of working with families that have chronic pain. He validated the importance of my own chronic pain, by adding a segment about chronic pain to one of his classes. I am a better person because of the time and understanding he gave to me. He will truly be missed. My heart goes out to his loved ones.

Kathy Pierce (Coon Rapids, MN)

Words From The Borgstrom Family

We only had the privilege of knowing Dr. Caron for the past month. We were attending his FTD caregivers support group on Saturday afternoons. In this short time, Dr. Caron really helped us understand this disease. He was teaching us to see our Dad beyond this disease so that "the disease could become the least important thing about Dad" (in Dr Caron's words). His humor, intellect, experiences, stories and compassion kept bringing us all back for more. Though our time with him was short, we realize what a gift he truly was!
Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends during this very sad time.

The Borgstrom Family (Austin, Big Lake and Waconia, MN)

Words From Jan McCulloch

Today (Monday) I've been dealing with lots of things relating to the shock of Wayne's death. Now, at the end of the day, I have taken some time to read the entries in this guest book. I wish I was eloquent enough to add something as meaningful as these entries.

When I read about his passion for teaching and helping others, I remember my conversations with him about these passions and taking good care of himself. When I read about students' reflections concerning the impact he had on their lives, I see the teaching awards he won over the years. When I see entries about the Family Caregiving Center, I see his most recent award -- for Outstanding Contributions to Engagement and Outreach.

Wayne remains a shining example of an invested life. He leaves behind students who also are passionate about the care of elders, families who can face the difficulties of dealing with dementia, and colleagues who are reeling from the realization that he will not be with us as we plan for our future.

For all of us -- family, friends, colleagues, and students -- I grieve. However, as we grieve, my hope is that we also celebrate his extraordinary life -- a life that truly has made a difference in the lives of others! May we all be as passionate about how we live in the world.

Jan McCulloch (Blaine, MN)

Words From Holly Carmichael

Wayne was a man who gently shut the door and told me to let the tears come, offering a shoulder and a smile with no judgement. He was a man that pushed me to see beyond yesterday and focus on the creation of a vision of tomorrow. He was a man that was changing the world - one student, one patient, one family at a time. He will be severely missed by all.

Holly Carmichael (New York, NY)

Words From Kathryn Mitchell

Wayne was a lifesaver for me and my family as we dealt with the ravages of my beloved father's rapid dementia 10 years ago. There is some huge powerfully sad mistake that he is gone from here too young. He was so amazingly able to engage my father at whatever level and find the human connection. He had a fabulous sense of humor and was an absolute precious gem of a human being, competently helping us at every step. May his much loved son, family and all those loved in his personal life find comfort and care, as he gave to so many others. Deep sadness over his passing and gratitude for his presence, it will go on.

Kathryn Mitchell (Saint Paul, MN)

Words From Nancy Erdahl Larson

Dan and family, I will always remember Wayne as a volunteer at St Therese when I worked there. For someone so young he knew what he wanted to do with his life. He was only about 12 or 13 and all the old folks loved him. I have read the memories of him and it makes me proud to have known him at the beginning. He was a tease and a pest at times but a truly remarkable person. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

Nancy Erdahl Larson (Maple Grove, MN)

Words From Talia Glover

I am so sad to hear of Wayne's passing. He was my favorite professor at the U of M and I learned so much from him. He was a very inspiring person and he will be missed. I will never forget his phrase, "Randomness is magic!" My thoughts and prayers go out to his family and close friends.

Talia Glover (Edina, MN)

Words From Antoany Le

-Dr Caron's Family,
Coming home from the airport this morning and soon after I got to work and received a phone call about Dr. Caron's passing was a gun shot to my heart. Dr. Caron was someone who put a smile on my face everytime I saw him and someone I trusted. He was more than a professor, a true friend and a true champion at heart. I will miss him so much. May God Bless You and Yours at this time of sadness. I was in many of his excellent, professional, and outstanding classes. I've learn a ton from him. I'll miss you Dr. Caron.

Antoany Le (Maplewood, MN)

Words From Nicole Binger

Dr. Caron helped me find myself when I couldn't believe that there was anything to find. He inspired me and with his consistent truth; he showed me how to be a better me. Not only did he have a wonderful heart with beautiful intentions- he brought those qualities to life in the world and communities around him. I am greatful to have had him in my life.
Nicole Binger (Saint Paul)

Words From Laura Deuberry

I know I speak for my whole family when I say Wayne Caron saved us and put us on the right path in our struggle with Alzheimers. His care, compassion, guidance, wit, etc, etc, etc, have had a profound impact on us. God bless you Wayne, your family and huge extended family. Saturday mornings will never be the same! The Deuberry Family

Laura Deuberry (Saint Paul, MN)

Words From Sara Lassig

Wayne was an amazing man who touched countless lives, as clearly evidenced by these postings. Five years ago, while enrolled in an out of state graduate program I was unhappy in, I googled “family caregiving,? and found Wayne and the Family Caregiving Center. He invited me to attend a Saturday morning group and come to meet him. That 6 hour drive to make the visit was life changing. I watched Wayne interact with family caregivers and individuals with dementia, and watched the true meaning of “family caregiving? play out right before my eyes. After being mesmerized for an hour by his kind, compassionate, and understanding interactions with these families, I knew this was the graduate program I would come to. I will be forever grateful for the experiences I was able to have as a facilitator in the Family Caregiving Center, as Wayne’s teaching assistant, and as a student of Wayne’s. He truly gave voice to those with little voice, and gave hope to those who saw little. It was a true gift to know such a great man.

My deepest sympathy to Wayne’s family at this monumental loss.

Sara Lassig (Roseville, MN)

Words From Caela Ready

I am so incredibly sad to hear of the passing of such a great man. Dr. Caron was my very first professor at the University of Minnesota and I have continued to take classes with him each semester since then. He was such an incredible man and did so much good and had so much to share. Not only was Dr. Caron a great teacher, but I felt a connection to his work with Alzheimer's and dementia patients as well; I have several family members who have, and are, dealing with these conditions and Dr. Caron could always relate to how I felt. He was such an incredible person and will me missed more than one can imagine.

Caela Ready (Shoreview, MN)

Words From Jane Gilgun

This is such a shock and loss. Wayne was an outstanding human being, a model for us all, brilliant in every way. He was there for all with whom he had contact, open, available, kind, full of integrity, a great scholar, a compassionate human being. Wayne, I am sorry you are gone. You will be missed.

My condolences to your son Christopher, to your mother, to your brothers, sisters, and in-laws, nieces, nephews, students, colleagues. You have had a great impact on many lives, a lasting impact.

Jane Gilgun (Minneapolis, MN)

Words From Courtney Hudson

Dr. Caron always spoke of his mentors... Doc, you are mine. If I can become half of what you were to your family, friends and profession, then I will have accomplished greatness in work and love. This world will never be the same without you. Thank you for being such an inspiration, Doc.

Courtney Hudson (Minneapolis, MN)

Words From Jesse

Wayne came into my life at a time when I needed direction and help in confronting Alzheimer's Disease in our family. He helped me understand how the disease changes family dynamics, and how I could trust my own voice in facing this life changing event. Thank goodness for the insight and strength that Wayne gave me at that time, and for all of the academic conversations we had that helped me shape my graduate school goals.


Words From Bill Marshall

Dr. Caron was a wonderful man. I took a few of his classes, and when I had an acute mental health crisis, I went directly to him. Without any hesitation he would give me hours out of his very very busy schedule each week to help me through my anxiety. Every time I would see Wayne around campus I just had to run up to him to ask him how things were going and tell him about my life because he was always so helpful, warm, and validating. I will greatly miss him. My deepest sympathies go out to those who loved him.

Bill Marshall (St. Paul, MN)

Words From Juanita Jensen

Intimate Relations...synonymous with the name Dr. Caron. His lectures were inspiring and interactive. Dr. Caron made relationships an ever learning experience!! Thank you Dr. Caron, my prayers are with your family.

Juanita Jensen (Minneapolis, MN)

Words From mary Hadley

Truly the Family Caregiving Center and the Saturday morning support group have lost a giant of a man...and we shall not see his likes again.
My deepest sympathy to his entire family.

And to you, Wayne, an Irish blessing:

May the road rise up to meet you
May the wind be always at your back
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
and the rain fall soft upon your fields.
And, until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.

Mary Hadley (Roseville, MN)


Words From Cheryl Biel

I can hardly believe that we will never again be blessed by Wayne's friendship, his warmth, his joy and his love for people. He brought dignity and respect to those he so faithfully served. What a tragic loss to our caregiving community. It is with overwhelming sadness that I say good-bye to a dear man. Thank you, Wayne for all you have taught me and so many. You have made this world a much better place.

Cheryl Biel (Minneapolis, MN)

Words From Ali Briskey

Dr. Caron taught me how to care about others more than I already did. He made sense out of road blocks and dug deep for answers, I will always remember his strength and persistence. I only hope to become half of the terrific person he was. I send many thoughts and prayers to his family in this unfortunate and tragic circumstance. My heart goes out to you.

Ali Briskey (Mounds View, MN)

Words From Mandi Bechtel

Dr. Caron helped me remember that the older we get the more deserve to be sen and understood. Because of him I have a better relationship with my elders. I will miss him greatly

Mandi Bechtel (Minneapolis, MN)

Words From Marlene Stum

Wayne, I walked by your office door today "just in case" your death wasn't real. While you are not here physically, your influence and legacy will continue in many ways. I will miss you as a colleague who asked wonderful and quite challenging questions; cared deeply about students and intergenerational families; and always served as an advocate for those perceived to be "less fortunate" and in positions of less power and control. Wayne made a difference to so many ways in his short life. He will be missed but not forgotten.

Marlene Stum (Shoreview, MN)

Words From Lorraine Haley

I have known Wayne from the time he was a graduate student in Family Social Science at the University of Minnesota. He received his Ph.D. and returned to be a faculty member in the same department and I was still there. I agree with Jen on him "being down to earth." We use to joke about us "being a part of the furniture of Family Social Science" since we had both been there so long. It's been a while since I had seen him but I can still remember his smile and us being happy to bump into one another. Just to know that he won't be around saddens me.

Peace and love to his family!
Lorraine Haley (St. Paul, MN)

Words From Deepa Ram-Souza

An amazingly brilliant mentor; What a tragic loss for his students, colleagues, and family. He had a way of crystallizing the foggiest of concepts and driving his points home with wit, charm, and lasting impressions. Dr. Caron wll be missed greatly. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family. Chris, your father touched the lives of many. Be proud.

Deepa Ram-Souza (Andover, MN)

Words From Aysem Senyurekli

I am deeply saddened to hear about the sudden passing of Dr. Wayne Caron. I had the pleasure of getting to know him through the department of Family Social Science over the last 5 years, and can attest -- like many of the others who have written about him in this guest book -- to his ability to inspire those around him through his dynamic personality. I would also like to add that it was not at all uncommon to hear Wayne's students share amongst themselves and with other faculty his amazing gift for teaching. Wayne was able to connect with his students through his humor, storytelling ability, and comfort with pushing the envelope. He will be remembered by many.

Aysem Senyurekli (St. Louis Park, MN)

Words From Pam Stenhjem

I didn't know Dr. Carron, but several colleagues and friends of mine did. I can tell by the entries that he was an exceptional person and touched the lives of many. It is always difficult to lose such a talented and beloved individual. I just want to send my heartfelt condolences to you, his family, and to all of his many friends and colleagues.

Pam Stenhjem (Apple Valley, MN)

Words From K Anderson

Dr. Caron's noble efforts to help caregivers and patients with Alzheimer's disease touched the lives of many families facing this battle. Through the students he connected with as a teacher and the families he helped with his Saturday morning group, his kindness will live on.

K Anderson (Saint Paul, MN)

Words From Marie Milsten Fiedler

May the omnipotent guide you through your sorrow and give you strength. Amanda's Mom
Marie Milsten Fiedler

Words from Jennifer Welsh

I worked with Wayne for a number of years in the Family Social Science department. What I remember most about him is how down to earth he was. Rarely have I known someone who had so much to be proud of who managed to remain humble, warm, open, and easy to talk to. I saw firsthand how much his students loved him for it.

I didn't know Wayne very well, but I think anyone who spent any time with him at all must have seen how bright and intellectually curious he was. When I needed help remembering the source of a quote from literature or something of that nature, it often turned out that Wayne could pull the needed information from right off the top of his head. We shared an interest in old music, and had often talked about our favorite Tin Pan Alley era composers. We both loved Gershwin the most, probably, but often discussed the merits of other greats and the people who had interpreted their songs over the years.

I left the department about a year and a half ago. Instead of a card as a parting gift, Wayne gave me a custom burned CD, entitling it "Songs to Remember Us By." The sweetness of the gesture lingers with me, as do the joyous strains of Lester Young's saxophone on "Lady, Be Good."

Wayne and I shared a love of "old" people as well. I saw him at work with his Saturday morning Family Caregiving group. His dedication to helping people was inspiring. My heart hurts to think of the hole that is left in so many lives by his passing, but finds comfort in knowing how much of a difference his life's work made and will continue to make. My thoughts, prayers, and deepest sympathy are with his son (whom he spoke of so often!), and the rest of his family, friends, and those who knew him best.

In the words of Irving Berlin...

The song is ended
But the melody lingers on
You and the song are gone
But the melody lingers on

Jennifer Welsh (St. Paul, MN)

Words from Paul Rosenblatt

Wayne was a good soul and worked hard to have good things happen in the world. I will miss his intelligence, laughter, independent thinking, wit, and caring spirit.

Paul Rosenblatt (Roseville, MN)

Words From Sheila Hanschen

Wayne was my best friend and mentor. I did art work for him during his Saturday Family Caregiving Center lectures, and he always enjoyed looking at them and seeing each picture's Truth. We truly had a connection of the soul and he was the most beautiful spirit I have ever seen. God Bless You Wayne, you will always be in my heart and forever a part of my dream: The Academy for Mental Health.

Sheila Hanschen (Minneapolis, MN)

Words From Kevin Green

Wayne was truly an inspirational teacher, mentor, and friend. His quirky wit and wisdom will be greatly missed. I had the opportunity of working with Wayne in the Intimate Relations class for two semesters and he taught me a great deal about teaching and learning. His passion for sharing with others and helping others was evident in his teaching. His mark on our department and lives will not be forgotten. God Bless You, Dr. Caron!

Kevin Green (Salt Lake City, UT)

Words from Kristen Swan

It is profoundly difficult to know how to adequately respond to this extremely sad and unexpected news of Wayne's passing. I feel in some ways as if we "grew up together", since I was privileged to have been one of his classmates in graduate school in the early 80's. We helped each other find our way through the Family Social Science department and enjoyed many occasions of laughter and learning together. I was always impressed with his fine intellect and capacity for learning and applying and passing on what he knew. I learned much from him as a classmate and was thrilled when I saw that he had become a distinguished member of the faculty. He possessed a special humanness, warmth and candor that did much to promote the mission of the Family Social Science department. What a gift he was to his students and colleagues and what a terrible loss they are experiencing.
Wayne was one who never took himself too seriously and was a person with whom I always felt emotionally safe and respected. He had a tender heart that truly cared about the people to whom he dedicated his research and life's work.
I will always remember his smile, his infectious laugh and quick wit. I will cherish the enjoyable times we had together as students and colleagues and mourn the lost opportunities to have known him better into our older years. He has helped countless people in his life and leaves an indelible mark in the lives of those who were privileged to have known him. My very deepest sympathies to his family, colleagues and friends.

Kristen Swan (Richfield, MN)

Words From Holli Trombley

Wayne was a truly extraordinary person and I am so privileged to have known him. He touched so many lives with his caring and compassionate way of being and he brightened the days with his quick wit and often dark (but deeply loved by all!) sense of humor. He was a strong student advocate and a wonderful mentor. They always say 'the good ones go too soon'. In this case, it is certainly the truth. Thank you Wayne, for all the gifts you have given us with your wisdom, laughter and honesty. We will miss you more than you know....

Holli Trombley (Spring Lake Park, MN)

Words From Colleen Hagan

Earlier today I was talking to my grandma and she told me that someone had
died, but I wouldn't know him. I asked who and she said, "Dr. Wayne
Caron from the University." I was shocked thinking I must have heard
wrong or maybe there happened to be another Dr. Wayne Caron. I said,
"grandma I do know him he was my professor for my two favorite classes
I have taken at the U." I guess I never made the connection that she
and my grandpa used to go to his Alzheimer's groups Saturday mornings
before my grandpa died. She said he just loved my grandpa...I wish I
had known that they knew each other. Dr. Caron had such passion about
his work. It came across in each and every lecture. I cannot express in
words how much I enjoyed listening to his lectures for both Intimate
Relationships and Families and Aging. He taught me so much and always
had a way of engaging his students. I had so much respect for him as a
professor and was really inspired by his work with the geriatric
population. I just want to say that I know he will be missed by so many
people, people of all ages from all different backgrounds. I'm sorry he
had to leave so soon. For all of you who were close to Dr. Caron you
are in my thoughts.
Colleen Hagan (Shoreview, MN)

Insights out of Sorrow

I am still not able to comprehend Wayne's death. The deeper it sinks in, the sadder I get. But I found the visitation and funeral service for Wayne to be very healing. The visitation was so crowded that people were spilling out into adjacent rooms. There was no shortage of amazing stories about the many ways in which Wayne touched many individuals' and families' lives. It was good for us all to laugh together. At the funeral service, three things struck me. The priest's sermon focused on the Beatitudes (from the Sermon on the Mount) and on how Wayne's life exemplified the best of them. The measure of a man's life is his love, and not any of the superficial trappings we become so concerned with. Wayne's love was as wide and deep as anyone I know. Second, the priest said in closing that there is a Spanish saying that a person dies 4 times. The first is when his heart and brain stop functioning; the second is after the funeral; the third is after the burial; and the fourth is when people stop speaking of him. We can be assured that Wayne will live on in many, many minds and hearts, and in that sense he will never die. Finally, all these experiences have led me to wonder how much we really know one another. We tend to know each other in the roles in which we interact, but it is the rare event indeed where people from our various non-overlapping social circles come together. It's been wonderful to get to know many more sides of Wayne in the past few days. I wish I had been able to do it earlier.

Hal Grotevant

Wayne Caron Obituary

Caron, Dr. Wayne age 51, of New Hope, Minneapolis/St. Paul. Lecturer and Teaching Professor at the U of M. Therapist, Author. Survived by son, Christopher and his mom, Pam Mitman; mother, Ruth Caron; brothers, Dick (Celia), Dan, Jack (Denise), Ron (Shelly); sister, Linda (Larry) Stull; many nieces and nephews, relatives and friends. Visitation Tuesday, 6-9 pm with memory sharing 8 pm at Gearty-Delmore Robbinsdale Chapel, 39th and W. Broadway. Service information for Wednesday is pending and will be announced in Tuesday's paper. "First I'm a father. Then I'm a therapist. Next I'm a teacher. Then a scientist. But mostly a friend." Gearty Delmore 763-537-4511
Published in the Star Tribune from 8/26/2007 - 8/27/2007.

Wayne Caron, counselor to families in pain

With notable compassion, the psychologist and professor helped people confronting chronic illness.

By Ben Cohen, Star Tribune

Last update: August 28, 2007 – 9:01 PM

Psychologist [Family Social Scientist] Wayne Caron left a trail of appreciation for his work to support family-centered care for people with Alzheimer's disease.

"Families across the Twin Cities have continually expressed their gratitude for the hope that he provided," said Dr. Robert Kane, a University of Minnesota professor and the director of the university's Center on Aging.

Caron, 51, died of a pulmonary embolism Aug. 21 in his St. Paul home. He founded the Family Caregiving Center at the university, earned his Ph.D. in psychology there, and had worked for at least 16 years with families who had loved ones suffering from chronic disease such as Alzheimer's.

"He was known for his compassion, caring and skill," said Kane, who added that Caron taught his students to deliver empathetic care.

Caron's method, based on research and family counseling experience, tells therapists and other health professionals to listen to families and learn from them. He was a proponent of including patients in family counseling sessions, said Carole Nimlos, of Vadnais Heights, who has taken care of her husband for 16 years.

"They do understand, though they can't tell you anything. They will remember the emotional part of you being there," she said. Nimlos said that the strain of being a family caregiver is encompassing, adding that "she couldn't imagine getting through the stress" without Caron's help and methods.

"He saved me," she said.

Adine Stokes, a licensed social worker who is the associate director of the center that Caron founded, said that Caron changed how she works with families.

"He taught us to learn from people and approach families in a way that we are learning with them," Stokes said. "The families have all the wisdom and knowledge, but need the most support."

At the time of his death, Caron was launching a program with the Veterans Hospital of Minneapolis, and was to become the lead therapist at the university's N. Bud Grossman Center for Memory Research and Care.

"He was at the beginning of some really exciting projects in his career," Stokes said.

Caron graduated from New Hope's Cooper High School in 1974, earning his doctorate in family social science in 1991 from the University of Minnesota, where he had earned his bachelor's and master's degrees.

He co-authored the book, "The Family Journey," and was in demand to speak before health professionals' conventions. He was a senior lecturer and assistant professor in the university's Department of Family Social Science, College of Education and Human Development.

He is survived by his son, Christopher, of St. Paul; mother, Ruth, of New Hope; former wife, Pam Mitman, of St. Paul; brothers Dick, of Pontotoc, Miss., Dan, of Maple Grove, Jack, of Maple Grove, and Ron, of Crystal, and a sister, Linda Stull, of Maple Grove.

Mass will be held at 10 a.m. today at the Church of St. Raphael, 7301 Bass Lake Rd., Crystal, with visitation at 9:30 a.m. at the church.

Ben Cohen •

Words From Charlie Williams

Dr. Wayne Caron was an inspiration and he will be deeply missed by all that were fortunate enough to have known him!

Charlie Williams (Richfield, MN)

Words From Faten Khoury

In my lifetime i never met an extraordinary person like Wayne. Wayne was compassionate, warm and caring person. He always put others first. His commitment to make a difference in people's life and ease their suffering was his life's mission.His voice will be with me for ever.

Faten Khoury (Maplewood, MN)

Words From Christy Curro

Dr. Caron was an amazing person-- so funny, kind, giving, and full of life. I know I am not the only one who was shocked and saddened by his sudden passing. I send my deepest sympathies to his loved ones.

Christy Curro (Minneapolis, MN)

Words From Pang Rhodes

Wayne had a wonderful balance of seriousness and humor, control and chaos, focus and breadth, and reality and possibities. He could laugh at himself and still remain unwavering in his allegiance to the Mac. (I'm sure they have Macs in heaven, too!) I have been greatly blessed by Wayne's encouragement, support, and generosity of time and knowledge. This world will not be the same without his cackling laughter.

Pang Rhodes (Champlin, MN)

Words from Derek Gwinn

Wayne taught me a number of things, while I was part of the Intimate Relations teaching team, that I'm trying to pass on to the educators at work. I grew used to seeing him on campus. It seems unfathomable to me that he won't be there the next time I'm on campus. His absence will be felt, but his influence will continue.

Derek Gwinn (Springfield, MO)

Words From Gregg Schacher

This is a tremendous loss on so many different levels. I'll always remember Wayne's sense of history, both about himself and the family social science department. He was like a bard for the department, a keeper of the collected wisdom and experience of the whole family. He was constantly remembering stories about his growth with faculty members and students, both in his days as a student and more recently as a faculty member himself. He had a way of honoring those he had been touched & challenged by. He didn't just quote people, he introduced you to them through his stories and his personal encounters with them. I often felt like he was sharing his "family" with me through these stories. And he also had a sense of his own history. He was humble enough to talk about his faults and foibles and where he learned to grapple with honest self-reflection. In this way he was able to relate to so many people in a way that nurtured courage and confidence. His history reflected a sense that he had survived and had been blessed to share some of his learnings with others; I know that he delighted in sharing himself freely with others so that we could learn through him. He loved spontaneous conversations--saturated with stories--and was never afraid of where they might lead. In my mind this bold openness to meet others where they were at and to share these stories of himself and his "family" may be his greatest legacy. I will miss him immensely.

Gregg Schacher (Minneapolis, MN)

Words From Julie Zaloudek

Wayne was someone whose kind and generous nature were evident in how he related to those around him. I have never seen such sharp, humorous sarcasm and deep, loving nature coexist so closely! I couldn't help but be drawn to him and wish I had expressed my love and appreciation better than I did. To his son: Wayne talked about you very often and was so proud of who you are.

Julie Zaloudek (Sarona, WI)

Words From Barb Anakkala

To The Family of Wayne Caron,
I am so saddened to hear of Wayne's death. It was such a privilege to know him and learn from him. He was funny, warm and sincere - qualities that helped immensely when families were looking for guidance in their journeys through life. He will be greatly missed.

Barb Anakkala (Brainerd, MN)

Word From Christina Roberts

I worked with Wayne for many semesters and he was not only an amazing instructor but also an integral part of the Family Social Science Department. He will be greatly missed and I'm so sad he is gone.

Christina Robert (Minneapolis, MN)

Word From Karen Kramer

Wayne was a person that changed the meaning of giving as I understood it. Giving with no limits and without expecting reciprocity.
I will miss him greatly.

Karen Kramer (Roseville, MN)

Words From Pauline Boss

I first met Wayne Caron when he was a graduate student in FSoS; then he
became my research assistant, par excellence, as we worked with the
Veteran's Adminstration on the five year Caregving for Alzheimer's Disease
project. This was the 1980's. Since then, Dr. Caron has become a colleague
in the dept of FSoS. As a teacher, researcher, and therapist, he was highly
esteemed by his colleagues, students and the many families he helped . But
above all, I want to say that Wayne continally talked to me abouty his son,
Christopher. From the day he was born to just last week, when Wayne told me
of his son's leaving for college, I could see his immense pride and
satisfaftion with his son. He was so many things to me, but indeed, he was
a father above all. Christopher, you had a wonderful father and I am so
glad to have known and worked with him.

Pauline Boss, Professor Emeritus

He Held My Class in the Palm of His Hand

Professor Caron had an amazing way of making absolutely everything interesting. He held my 250 person class in the palm of his hand each lecture. I can only imagine the tremendous impact he has made in the lives of students, co-workers, friends, and family members. My heart goes out to all of those who had the chance to know, respect, and love his unforgettable presence.

Clara S.

Dedicated E-mail Address for New Postings

We now have a dedicated e-mail address set up to which anyone can send tributes, memories, poems, stories ... whatever. Pictures are welcome and can be submitted as attachments.

The e-mail address is
This is not Wayne's personal account; it will go straight to those of us who are managing the blog entries. If you have any questions, feel free to send them to this new address. We hope that this Memorial Page will be helpful to all of Wayne's family and many friends -- whenever any of us need a little smile about Wayne, we can logon 24/7.

August 28, 2007

Attachment...not just a theory...a way of life

Wayne always talked about his son, Chris. Tonight at the visitation I got to meet him and he looks quite different than the baby whose picture Wayne showed during every attachment research lecture in Intimate Relations. The picture he was so proud to let students see, Wayne and his attachment to his son whom he loved dearly. Wayne wasn't just a detached researcher, teacher and clinician, he really embodied what he knew. It's no wonder so many of his have realized our attachment to him was profound.

Wayne Caron and his son Chris.jpg

from Darryl Goetz - "Listen to the Families"

Wayne, (From Darryl)

It certainly seemed like “love at first sight?…in the spring of 1986 we came together that first day in a coffee shop in downtown Mpls to talk about the FsoS department and discuss what it is like being a doctoral student. I was thinking of applying to the program that you were in.

Instead, we talked for 3 hours about the families we were both working with, that were living with chronic conditions – you with Alzheimers families running a project for Pauline , and me with children with asthma/diabetes, and it was as if we had always been together! We were talking the same language! We asked – “How do the families live with their situation? How do they survive? How do they make meaning? What keeps them going in the face of such adversity?? “HEALING! That is what it is!? we said together! They engage in a type of self-healing that most caregivers in the traditional medical care system do not talk about, nor understand when it comes to “chronic conditions!?. And over the next 20 years we spent hours upon hours talking and writing about a concept that we eventually came to call “Systemic Healing?. It embodies that notion that physical healing is just one part of health and well-being – and that families that adapt well to living with chronic conditions are engaged in healing in a truly systemic manner on many levels. This we learned from the families!! The families are always the teachers!

For the first 7 years we met almost every Thursday, at least for four hours, very often for 8 hours. It was truly like a religion to us – the time was sacred and very little was allowed to intrude upon our weekly allocation of brainstorming! We started at 9am (at least I was there at 9 – you usually got there by 9:30! “I am not an early morning person? you would always tell me!! ) We sat at a small table in the corner at Pam Sherman’s restaurant in Uptown, and filled our brown bound notebooks with pages of our passionate thinking about families with chronic conditions that were engaged with the traditional health care system and how they found little to help them live with their situation, and lots to be frustrated with. We both believed that we needed to “listen? to the families – and they would guide us! It became our mantra – “listen to what the families are saying? – and we believed the answers to the questions we were asking about healing would be answered - it was our challenge to decipher their code – and if we could, the knowledge could be shared with countless other families. Wouldn’t that be marvellous, we thought?!

That is the key, isn’t it, Wayne?! For us it always came back to this when we were ‘stuck’ in our thinking – in research, theoretical, or clinical work – just “listen to the families?! All the knowledge must originate from them – it CANNOT come from us! We said it over and over again – if only we listen long enough and hard enough, we might begin to understand. And, so began our journey of “trying to understand?! My oh my – how I looked forward to those meetings with you – they were incredibly draining and filling – all at the same time – what an incredible feeling I had when we were together!

And the dream – of a family center – we spent hours thinking of the right name! And hours thinking of how to make it a reality – And later in our lives as our professional contexts changed – YOU MADE IT HAPPEN! IT WAS YOUR INCREDIBLE ENERGY AND SACRIFICE THAT MADE A DREAM BECOME REALITY!! I remember so vividly when you called me excitedly and said that you had obtained permission to use some rooms on Saturday mornings for work with families. You had some space, you made the time, and like in the Field of Dreams, you knew the families would come! And come they did, and out of basically nothing, you constructed the most incredible center – it truly was a miraculous creation!

I could say so much more to you, Wayne, and I am deeply saddened that I cannot be there in person to be with friends and colleagues that have known you - and take comfort from the countless others that have experienced their own “healing? by being with you. My life has been so changed, enriched and touched meaningfully by my relationship with you. You helped me think when I was stuck. You provided me comfort when my heart was aching.

I miss you terribly.
I love you.
You are in my heart forever.

A Life Well-Lived

Over the past few days since we learned of Wayne's death I have frequently had thoughts and images of him that come to me and with those thoughts come a feeling of great peace and appreciation for his life. I offer these few words in honor of his life:

An essence that lingers
A smile to one's face
A feeling of goodness
And grace
A remembrance of meeting
A celebration of presence
A knowing of the difference
one life can make.

In tribute to Wayne Caron: A Life Well-Lived

Jane Newell

A Message From Holly C.

I’ve spent the last couple of days reading and
re-reading the comments that students, faculty,
community members and family members have logged in
Wayne’s guest book. Each morning I decide to read the
notes and comments once again, hoping that this time I
won’t feel quite as angry as I did the last time. I’ve
been trying to diagnose this anger that is building
inside of me – something that I’m sure Wayne would
have pushed me to do.

This is what I’ve come up with, though I’m sure
there’s still quite a bit of digging to do. The
reason that the anger isn’t subsiding, or
transitioning to grief, is that I’m angry for multiple

First, I’m angry for the greater good. The education
community lost a great man long before he was done
contributing to the fields of research, family, and
health. He was so committed to improving the lives of
Alzheimer’s patients, and the lives of the families
that were impacted by this terrible disease. I’m
angry that we now have a gap to fill – one that he
anxiously and excitedly sat in.

Second, I’m angry for him. He was so proud of where
he had been and who he had become; so proud of his
work and his path; so proud of the knowledge that he
had helped so many in so many different ways. I’m
angry that he won’t have the chance to revel his many
life and career accomplishments. I’m angry that God
took him two seconds before he saw evidence of yet
another one of his accomplishments.

Third, I’m angry for myself. The short tributes that
are included in his guest book describe a man that was
incredibly dynamic and gifted. I’m angry that I only
knew one facet of his character. I’m angry that I
didn’t get the chance to see all of the other pieces
as well. I’m angry that I didn’t take the time to
tell him how much he contributed to my graduate
experience and my personal growth.

I suppose that one day soon, I will wake up and read
the sentiments of my fellow students and will realize
that grief and sadness have settled into the space
that anger now sits. Until then, I hope my anger
reminds me to take the time to see all the greatness
in the people standing right in front of me, and to
express my appreciation to them for the greatness that
they share with me.

My heart is with all of you.
Holly Carmichael

Pacem Wayne

Pacem Wayne
I have learned a lot from you
I have appreciated your candor and humor
I have respected your intelligence and creativity

In many ways, you were like a friend

I will miss you
Rest in peace

August 27, 2007

Solace in Song

Hi Everyone,

In thinking about the shocking news of Wayne’s passing, I wanted to share a couple of songs with you that have been meaningful to me this past year in dealing with the deaths of my father last august, my close friend of nearly 20 years Beth in September, and my aunt this past June. It just seems really hard to make any sense of especially such an early and sudden death, and these songs help me in thinking about Wayne. They are by my favorite singer/songwriter Peter Mayer, and he has clips at his website, or full songs on itunes if you want to hear the music along with the words (too big to try to include here!).

Best to you,

Mary W-K

The Longest Night

Light a candle, sing a song
Say that the shadows shall not cross
Make an oblation out of all you’ve lost
In the longest night

Gather friends and cast your hopes
Into the fire as it snows
And stare at God through the dark windows
Of the longest night
Of the year

A night that seems like a lifetime
If you’re waiting for the sun
So why not sing to the nighttime
And the burning stars up above?

Come with drums, bells and horns
Or come in silence, come forlorn
Come like a miner to the door
Of the longest night

For deep in the stillness, deep in the cold
Deep in the darkness, a miner knows
That there is a diamond in the soul
Of the longest night
Of the year


Maybe peace hides in a storm
Maybe winter’s heart is warm
And maybe light itself is born
In the longest night
In the longest night
Of the year


When winter’s gray is on the sky
Rust upon the leaves that lie
Red on the last few berries clinging
Brown on the branch where the bitter wind’s singing
Even when white obscures the scene
Still, in winter, there is green

Waving defiant pine tree boughs
Cedar needles, stubborn and proud
Hiding inside the seeds of summer
And deep in the root where it sleeps undercover
Patiently waiting there unseen
In the winter, there is green

Death may raise its voice today
O but life will have its say
Speaking in lovers and in children
In poets pens and philosopher’s visions
Life is a planet’s daring dream
Earth’s devotion, spoken in green

So keep it in your winter store
Hang its garland ‘round the door
Grant to your heart its hopeful promise
Fashion a wreath for its blessing upon us
Winter brings browns and grays indeed
But when it comes, remember green

Sad Loss

I have been sad since Friday afternoon. My heart does not believe what my mind cannot deny.

I received word Friday afternoon that one of the professor's in my department, Wayne Caron, died. That is all I know. I looked in the obit page this morning to see what I could learn. His name was listed, but the obit read that information was to bo released, or something like that. All I learned was that he was only 51 years old. Way too young to die.

I had several conversations with Wayne in my first year of doctoral studies. He was humorous, engaging, and was an outside the box thinker. I recall how, when we first met to discuss research, that he said he was not primarily interested in my research interests, although that was important, but that he was interested in me. That kind of thing matters.

I can't believe he's not going to be up there in the department Monday when I return. It all seems fake, like some sort of horribly cruelhumor. My heart does not accept this reality.

I am not sure how to say this next line, so I am going to say it like this: This loss has agitated other losses in my life, roused their pain nearer to the surface. Pain travels in packs - never alone. When one pain bites, they all bite.

Making sense of pain while it is biting is more than difficult. I suppose for most, certainly for me, it is not a realistic goal. Trying to make sense of it, perhaps. But actually making sense? Naw. Sometimes it seems like life is this process of collecting lots of things when you are young and losing them all as you age - with the gain of wisdom as the consolation prize. It's so hard to make sense of loss.

Today, I am sad. I am sad for Wayne's family, his friends, his students, his Teaching Assistants, for the Department, and the people he served at the Family Caregiving Center. Wayne's death is a significant loss to many, many people.

My prayer is for everyone touched by his death to grieve in a healthy way and to let the influence Wayne has had in their lives to live within them. The world will be better for it.

Chris Gonzalez

Establishing this Blog in Wayne's Memory

We have established this Wayne Caron Memorial Page to give Wayne's friends, colleagues, and family a space in which to share their memories, tributes, thoughts, poems, pictures, or links to external websites. Wayne was such a lover of technology -- we think he would approve. Please e-mail us things you would like us to post, and we will be happy to do so. A dedicated e-mail address for submissions will be available very soon and will be posted here. In the meantime, you can send posts to or or
Thank you.