Obit: Conner, Wayne Gilbert #2 (1932 - 2008)
Contact: Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon
Surnames: Conner, Peters, Canfield, Van Ert, Zahn, Fitzmaurice, Plummer, Pace
----Source: Clark County Press (Neillsville, Clark Co., WI.) July 2, 2008
Conner, Wayne Gilbert (24 August 1932 - 26 June 2008)
Wayne Gilbert Conner, 75, who courageously beat two difficult illnesses in his life, finally went to the Lord Thursday morning, June 26, 2008, at the Palliative Care Unit of St. Joseph’s Hospital in Marshfield due to heart and respiratory failure.
Wayne was born August 24, 1932, in Racine, the son of Harvey "Pat" and Emma (Peters) Conner. When only three, he was one of those struck by the first wide-spread polio epidemic. He spent a great deal of time over the next 13 years in hospitals, receiving experimental treatments and surgeries which first kept him alive and then allowed him to continue to walk, albeit with a significant limp. Despite the disability, he spent his life working on his feet, and even golfing.
Besides polio, he was also greatly affected by the Great Depression and developed an incredible work ethic. He took his first job as a sixth grader to help with family finances. He was a darkroom or photographic technician most of his career, a skill he learned as a shop student at Horlick High School in Racine. When he graduated in 1951, he started developing film at Photocraft in Racine.
He married the former Jeanette Canfield in 1956, and the couple moved to Granton and later to Chili where they raised nine children. Wayne was involved in St. Stephen’s Catholic Church as a lector and member of the parish board.
Wayne, after short periods with Maxin Photo and Rollohome, worked for the Marshfield News Herald, the Woolworth’s Department Store Camera and Sporting Goods Department and Hiller’s Hardware. Much of this time he also worked two additional part-time jobs at La Mere Photo and the Elks Club. He ended his career with Dairyland Agri-View and relocated with that publication to Iola when it was purchased by Krause Publications.
Upon retirement he moved to Lynn to be close to his children. He was well-known around the neighborhood for lending a hand, doing odd jobs, generally helping out those with needs for as long as he physically could, as well as enjoying his passion for cribbage. In 1996 he was diagnosed with cancer and given three months to live. Wayne showed his tenacity, endured another round of grueling treatments to be pronounced cancer free.
Wayne is survived by his children, Jody (Judy) of Neillsville, Elizabeth (Shane) Van Ert of Wisconsin Rapids, Laura Mae (Jerald) Zahn of Marshfield, Mitchell (Chari) of Chili, Christopher (Connie) of Marshfield, Gretchen (Ricky) Fitzmaurice of Neilslville, Ted of Marshfield, Marietta (Scott) Plummer of Eau Claire and Brendon (Brittany) of Marshfield; a brother, Richard (Pat) and twin brother, Wendell (Shirley), both of Racine; 18 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his parents.
Wayne’s ashes were interred at St. Stephen’s Chapel and Cemetery in Chili following a mass of Christian burial at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Neillsville July 1. The Very Reverend Woodrow Pace presided with music provided by the St. Mary’s choir and organist Ronald Resong.
The Cremation Society of Wisconsin assisted with funeral arrangements. Memorials may be sent to St. Mary’s Catholic Church of Neillsville.
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