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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)