October 12, 1925 - February 13, 2022
WWII Navy Veteran, Wayne Barr Wiegert, aka “The Friendly Telephone Man”, “Mr. Nice”, “Poopsie” “Mad Pierre” or “Grandpa Goof” (named after their dog, Goofus) lived 96+years. He was born in Chicago on October 12, 1925, the youngest son of Otto and Jeanette (Benson) Wiegert. He died on Feb 13, 2022. Per his request, there will be no service but we ask that you “pay it forward” with a kind deed in his memory. He is survived by his four children, Ross, Grant, Cathy Wolfe and Carol Canier; son-in-law Rob Canier; grandchildren and their families: Bryan and Emily Wiegert; Andrea and Andy Ferrante, Hannah and Tyler; Jill and Steve High, Mikayl, Emma, Jackson and Meadow; Julie Wolfe and Lillian; Nathan and Jenny Canier, Wyatt, Emmett and Josephine; Natalie and Chris Roy, Charlotte and Graham; and Amanda and Mike Amico, along with nephew John Wiegert and nieces Janeann Dailey and Jerri Lafond and their families, cousin Ric Cass and family and many special people in his life. He was preceded in death by his wife, Ruth, in 2017, his brother, Robert Wiegert and his wife, Virginia; grandson Jason Wolfe, son-in-law Larry Wolfe, daughter-in-law Claudia Wiegert, a special cousin, Vener Barkley and his “extra son”, Thor Gunnarsson. What Wayne didn’t think up as a kid, his older brother, Bob, did. His mother was known to say, “Oh, Otto, what are you going to do with these boys?” Wayne attended Senn H.S. in Chicago and enlisted in the U.S. Navy in Nov of 1943, going to boot camp in Idaho. He served in the Pacific and Guam, going thru the Panama Canal aboard an LST, never learning how to swim. He witnessed the mass suicides in Okinawa and was in 3 typhoons. Consider yourself special if you heard the story about the monkey on board the ship. He was proud to serve his country and truly lived by the motto, “God, Country, Family.” Upon his return to Chicago, he met Ruth Ross in 1947. They were married July 31, 1948. She was his #1 and kept Wayne in line! In 1950, they moved to Savanna where his aunt lived and made Savanna their home, making many friends over the years, especially his “Park St family.” Wayne worked for Central Telephone Company in the central office for many years and then took a position outside, mostly in the Mt Carroll area, where he had several cookie and pie stops when they needed their phones repaired. One day as he was finishing up installing a phone on Army Depot Road, he was instrumental in saving the life of a 2 month old infant who was choking. Wayne was able to help the baby and rushed the baby and his mother to the infirmary at the Army Depot, driving thru the guards. Once he returned to his telephone truck, it was surrounded by guards! Wayne’s acts of caring and kindness continued throughout his entire life. He and his wife, Ruth, were recipients of the Mississippi Masonic Lodge #385 “Community Builders Award” and he received the Savanna Rotary Club’s Outstanding Service award. Wayne and Ruth loved to travel, visiting from the east coast to the west coast, north to south and to Germany. Family vacations were spent in Wisconsin or Florida. His favorite spot on earth was Bok Tower in Lake Wales, Florida, where he was able to revisit in 2018. Wayne was proud of the Savanna Veterans Memorial, where he was honored during the dedication in 2021, along with the Savanna Museum with the various displays that he always walked over to see. The Festival of Trees was his favorite. He encouraged everyone to use the Savanna Public Library, supported the children’s activities through donations and kept the cactus blooming there for years. Wayne had many highlights in his life, especially going on the Honor Flight of the Quad Cities in 2010. He was honored by the Chicago Blackhawks for being a WWII veteran in 2013, both on the ice during the National Anthem and receiving a standing ovation from the sellout crowd later in the game. He was saluted and thrown a medal at Lock and Dam 13 when the LST was going up river in 2018 and then boarded it in Dubuque, where he had a following of people when they realized he actually served on one. He was a Grand Marshall in the Dale Gardner Veterans Memorial Bridge celebration, riding in his buddy, Jiggs’ car. He loved classic cars, made many cheesecakes but never ate them, tied fishing flies and learned the art of stained glass. He loved to cook and had a green thumb and was known around town for his Christmas cactus. If he really liked you, you probably have one that he started. He was a Sunday school teacher at 1st Presbyterian Church, little league coach, delivered mobile meals, refurbished Savanna’s Christmas lights and installed the lights on the tree on Main and Chicago Ave for the Christmas season. He enjoyed model trains. He loved being a guest of Kris Yingling’s 4th grade class to raise money for the Honor Flight and attending the Veterans’ Day assembly at the grade school. He was very independent and would drive “old people” to appointments or cook meals for neighbors. He finally admitted recently that he was an “old fart”. His only nemesis was a housefly! He enjoyed reading and music, especially the sounds of the Big Bands, New Orleans Jazz and Willie Nelson. Tootsie Pops were his favorite candy and finding the Indian on the wrapper was a bonus. He had many sayings, most shouldn’t be mentioned here! He loved Christmas and you might find 5 trees decorated in their Park St. home. Later in life, they spent Christmas at Nate and Jenny’s, where he looked forward to seeing their gigantic trees they would cut down and eating her delicious prime rib dinner. The day ended driving thru Eagle Point Park to see the lighted Christmas display, which was a tradition for many years. At Thanksgiving, he had a secret recipe for turkey dressing that might have had a little too much booze in it! Dad’s parting words to family and friends were never goodbye, but either “Keep Smiling” or “Bless You.” So, to those of you who touched his life, or he touched yours…..”Keep Smiling” and “Bless You.” We would like to thank so many people around town and in the area who kept an eye out for him, along with the visiting nurses and hospice of Mercy One, the VA Help at Home girls, and the girls he met briefly at Allure who cared for him.
WWII Navy Veteran, Wayne Barr Wiegert, aka “The Friendly Telephone Man”, “Mr. Nice”, “Poopsie” “Mad Pierre” or “Grandpa Goof” (named after their dog, Goofus) lived 96+years. He was... View Obituary & Service Information
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