Today marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of Steve’s father, Wayne W. Smith, Jr. He was born in Rogers, Texas, just four days before John Fitzgerald Kennedy was born in Brookline, Massachusetts. Both served in World War II; Wayne in the Army Quartermaster Corps, and JFK in the Navy. Last year I wrote a post, Remembering Wayne, on Memorial Day, that included a eulogy by a woman in his Sunday School class. This year, I’m thinking of Wayne from the viewpoint of the grandchildren and great grandchildren he never got to meet. He would have been a grandfather who read kids stories, carried them on his shoulders, and introduced them to his favorite sports. I can imagine him helping them dress with patience, listening to riddles with interest, and serving ice cream with imagination. They would have adored him.
What I remember most are his ready smile, his cheerful laugh, and the warm welcome he gave me when I visited Odessa in July, 1963. I can find only two photos besides the formal portrait above. One is with his wife Marie, on their wedding day in 1942. The other is more representative, showing his smile as he and Marie put on a skit. Wayne was only 48 when he died, July 25, 1965. How we have missed him!