Wayne Gilbert (1932 - 2008)
Contact: Crystal Wendt
Surnames: Conner, Peters, Van Ert, Zahn, Fitzmaurice, Plummer
----Source: Marshfield News Herald (Marshfield, Wood Co., Wis.) Friday, June 27, 2008
Conner, Wayne Gilbert (24 Aug. 1932 - 26 June 2008)
Wayne G. Conner
NEILLSVILLE -- Wayne Gilbert Conner, who courageously beat two difficult illnesses in his life, finally went to the Lord on Thursday morning, June 26, 2008, at the Palliative Care Unit of Saint Joseph's Hospital in Marshfield due to heart and respiratory failure.
A prayer vigil will be held for Wayne at 7:30 p.m. Monday, June 30, at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Neillsville.
A Memorial Mass will be held at 10 a.m. Tuesday, July 1, at the church.
Burial of his ashes will follow the mass at St. Stephen's Chapel and Cemetery in Chili. Wayne was born Aug. 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 widespread 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 very involved in St. Stephen's Catholic Church there, as a lector and member of the parish board.
Wayne, after short periods with Maxin Photo and Rollahome, 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 Eagles 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 closer 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 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 Neillsville, Ted of Marshfield, Marietta (Scott) Plummer of Eau Claire, and Brendon (Brittany) of Marshfield. He is also survived by his brother, Richard (Pat) and twin brother, Wendell (Shirley), both of Racine; 18 grandchildren and 6 great-grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his parents.
The Cremation Society of Wisconsin is assisting with the funeral arrangements. Memorials and flowers may be sent to St. Mary's Catholic Church of Neillsville.
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