Wayne Strange

Obituary of Wayne O'Neill Strange

OCTOBER 29, 1933 - MARCH 16, 2021 Smyrna, TN - Wayne O'Neill Strange’s final days were filled with engaging conversation of days gone by and current affairs with family, friends, and of course strangers of whom he knew none. Besides being a great conversationalist able to accurately recall experiences from years ago and the facts he researched, he was known to leap tall buildings in a single bound. Seriously, he was an avid reader, rarely if ever found without a book in his hand. This past year was especially challenging for Wayne not being able to visit the library or the YMCA for the Silver Sneakers Program. And while his family and friends are heartbroken, Wayne leaves behind a legacy of what is right with this world. From his humble beginnings on that fall day in Whitney, South Carolina, the sixth of seven children born to Oscar Mitchell and Grace Ellen (Rinehart) Strange, he learned the value of hard work and the simple pleasures of fishing and eating watermelon on the bank of the creek that ran by their farm. Young adulthood found Wayne joining the US Army and serving overseas in non-wartime Germany, before moving to Chicago, Illinois to explore a new world of possibilities. Wayne began his family and career soon thereafter; creating a safe environment, instilling core values, and providing opportunities for his children to explore and develop their potential. Hard work and perseverance served him well as he built his career from the ground up with the Sante Fe Railroad, NIPSCO (Northern Indiana Power Company), and MPC (Montana Power Company), all while giving his family a grand tour of the country by way of Indiana, Wyoming, Texas, and the Big Sky Country of Montana, an outdoorsman’s paradise. Retirement found Wayne settling down with his family in Tennessee, exploring lakes reminiscent of his childhood days, making excursions along the corridors of I-65 & I-75 to visit family, and yes, spending time at the YMCA and the local library. His was a life well-lived. Wayne, age 87, passed away March 16, 2021, just days before his wife of 44 years, Linda Joyce (Hancock) Strange. Their family includes children: Mary Ellen Strange (deceased), Katherine Marie Strange, and Jennifer Ann (Strange), and Jason Francis, including grandchildren Jake Mills and Isabelle Francis. Wayne’s children and their families from a previous marriage are Sheri (Strange) Garza-Pope, and Sara (Strange), and Kenneth Livengood. Sheri’s family includes grandsons, Mike Lugo (and great-grandsons, Nathan and Elijah Lugo), and Chris Lugo (and Tommy Allen). Sara’s family includes grandsons John Livengood, James Livengood, and Jordan Livengood (and great-granddaughter, Violet Livengood). Wayne is also survived by a host of nieces, nephews, friends, and family members. A traditional memorial service is not planned, however, Wayne’s family will be scattering his ashes at his favorite fishing hole. In lieu of flowers, his family asks that you consider a donation to your local library or to Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library to help instill the love of reading in others for generations to come. “Life is brief, even at its longest.” - Jim Rohn
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