Wayne LeRoy Wilson, age 81, of Cokato, died Friday, Dec. 13, 2013, at St. Cloud Hospital, with family members at his side, after a 20-year battle with heart disease.
He was born Feb. 28, 1932, in Miller, SD, the youngest of five children born to Clifford W. and Lettie Mae Wilson.
Wayne graduated from Miller High School in 1950, and enlisted in the South Dakota National Guard only weeks prior to the start of the Korean War. He was activated for duty in September 1950, and served two years in the Army.
In 1953, he met his future wife, (Geneva) Maxine Runestad; they were united in marriage May 22, 1955, in Miller. The couple lived in Clark, SD from 1955 to 1957, then returned to Miller. Wayne and Maxine moved to Cokato in June 1967.
Wayne enjoyed people and believed in service and volunteer work. He was the coordinator for the Snow Queen/Corn Carnival Queen program for 19 years, from 1968 to 1987. He and Maxine also volunteered to sell tickets for 22 years, from 1980 to 2002, at the Dassel Cokato High School football games.
Wayne was a member of the Litchfield Area Male chorus for 35 years, from 1987 to 2013, an active member of the 196th Regimental Combat Team (serving as president twice), and a 60-year Mason.
A local businessman for many years, Wayne started in the banking industry, and transitioned to insurance and real estate over the years. His sense of service and patriotism carried on to his family, with one son serving as the mayor of Glencoe, another son and grandson serving as career military officers, and a grandson-in-law also in a military career.
Wayne was a dedicated father, grandfather, and greatgrandfather. He was proud of everyone in his family.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Maxine, in 2009.
Wayne is survived by their three children; Randy (and Kay) Wilson of Glencoe; Kevin (and Jackie) Wilson of Cokato; and Bethany (and Rob) Atkins of Portland, TX; eight grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren.
Funeral services took place Friday, Dec. 20 at 1 p.m. at the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Cokato, with interment at the Fort Snelling National Cemetery at a later date.
Pallbearers were Jacob Wilson and Maverick Aitkins.
Visitation was Thursday, Dec. 19 at the Swanson-Peterson Funeral Home in Cokato from 4 to 8 p.m., with a prayer service at 7 p.m., and Masonic rites at 7:30 p.m.
Arrangements were by the Swanson-Peterson Funeral Home in Cokato.