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Words from Tom Kempf

I knew Wayne from the days we were at St. Raphael’s. I started there in 7th grade when my family moved to Minnesota. Although it was a long time ago, I think Wayne and I hit it off from the start being a little on the bookish-geek side of things. In 8th grade we co-edited a newsletter “St. Raphael’s Highlights?.

We went to Cooper together graduating in 1974. Again my memory is sketchy but I think it was Wayne who talked me into joining the debate team for a year. We had many discussions about esoteric topics shaping my thoughts and leanings that I have today.

In the fall of 1974, Wayne, Barry Fick, a woman (who’s name escapes me) and I carpooled to the U. Wayne was a psychology major who dreaded the language requirement. I think he took French three times before he finally survived it. After the first year we moved down by campus. I think Wayne lived with John Bloomquist for a year or so. During those next three years we would meet in the basement of Coffman in the morning for coffee. Those mornings brought many more conversations on life, death, and everything in between. Wayne was a much better speller than I am and he would take my important papers and correct the spelling and grammar for me. I still have a folder that he wrote “Tom’s Paper? on. During this same period we both worked at St. Teresa’s Nursing home together which also led to many conversations.

In 1977 I was married and Wayne was our best man. Up until that point he never drove a car. In order to be best man, I forced him to learn to drive and take the test. After that I saw him in the mornings but graduation, kids and jobs came on pretty fast. I didn’t see him for a number of years until I found out he was working as a councilor at Hennepin County. We had lunch and decided to keep in touch. Of course life got in the way again. Then a few years ago, he saw my name on a list at the U where I was working on my own PhD and we had lunch a few times then lost contact again. I see his name on my contact list all the time and think I should send him an email and get together. Now it’s too late.

You always think you will have one more chance to talk to your oldest friends. I was shocked to hear about Wayne. We never really came to a conclusion in our debates about what happens in the end. Now I will just need to ponder without his input.

Tom Kempf