Devoted husband, father, grandfather, Opa, Pop Pop, and friend, Wayne Jack Stevenson, passed away peacefully on April 28, 2020 in Florida at age 80. He is survived by his loving wife of 42 years, Gayle; children Kathy (Kyle) Linzmeyer, Thomas (Samantha Zhang) Uttech, Debbie (Derek) White, Scott (Jennifer) Uttech, Kim (Richard) Miner-Benefiel, Karen (Michael) Taft, and Michelle (Ryan) Wilson; grandchildren Jeni and Brian (Carly) Linzmeyer, Joshua, Haley, Alec, and Benjamin Uttech, Mitchell (Alexandra) and Mason Rose Miner, Connor, Jacob, and Tanner Taft, Oliver Wilson; great-grandsons Conley Linzmeyer and Mark Jae Miner; and nieces, nephews, and friends.
Wayne was born on May 27, 1939 in Atlantic City, New Jersey. He later enrolled in the U.S. Air Force, becoming a jet engine mechanic, stationed in Mississippi, Texas and Oklahoma. He served his country proudly and was honorably discharged in 1960, becoming a head mechanic for Pan Am at JFK. After earning his bachelor’s degree from Hofstra University, he became a HR/Safety Manager for a variety of companies, retiring from Milwaukee Forge in 1999. After retirement, he was a substitute school teacher, where he joyfully shared his love of history with students.
In 2003, Wayne and Gayle moved to Pennbrooke Fairways, pursuing his dream to retire in Florida. Since that time, Wayne was an active member of his community, serving numerous terms as President of the HOA, in addition to leading the Fishing and Gardening clubs. Wayne’s youth shined as a member of the Pennbrooke softball club for over 10 years, with his expert fielding and quick feet, something for us all to strive for at age 80. We will all miss hearing his stories of projects within the community and his batting averages from softball.
His love of aviation began at age 12 and continued throughout his life – he was often found tinkering in his workshop working on model airplanes. He also served in model R/C airplane clubs and volunteered for 20 years at KidVenture at the EAA, earning the nickname “IronMan.” Wayne’s favorite manner of relaxing was reading and gardening. He loved sharing his garden’s bounty with family and friends, and savored the taste of a juicy red tomato. Wayne shared many great memories of trying to catch the fish that got away with his children. He even once mailed a fish on ice for his daughters to enjoy and show their friends for proof of the big catch.
In 2018, Wayne participated in an honor flight to Washington D.C., a once-in-a-lifetime experience which he valued greatly.
Wayne made everyone’s lives better, giving unconditionally to his family, friends, and community. He always went above and beyond what was asked and put others’ needs above his own. Wayne will be deeply missed.
Wayne was preceded in death by his parents, John Joseph Jr. and Anne Mae (Herlinger) Stevenson, and sister, Mildred Davis.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Academy of Model Aeronautics Foundation Scholarship Fund or the EAA Aviation Foundation – Young Eagles, enabling children to pursue their dreams of aviation.
A Military Memorial Service for Wayne will be held at a date yet to be determined.