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"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.