Once in a while obituaries read like a background check for sainthood, others are merely a death notice. Here is my attempt to tell you about a man I knew as Big Wayne, much more than a born-on-and-died date.
Being a few years younger, I remember him as Olivia's heavyweight wrestler and state tournament finalist. He then went to college, played football, was named as an all-American player and after graduation drafted by the Dallas Cowboys.
In addition to being an athlete, what I learned about Big Wayne Wittman over the past decade and more than a few beers, is this. He was a geologist, environmentalist, a politically savvy debater, gentle giant and had an uncanny ability to solve the Wheel of Fortune puzzle first. Often he scolded me, saying farmers better wake up to the erosion our tillage practices are causing. He liked windbreaks, grass buffers and land reserved for wildlife.
When my son's science fair project was "Stone Age Tools of Renville County," Big Wayne laid out our box of rocks and identified each rock type and mineral content. I still don't know what feldspar is, but I like saying the word.
So here is my summary of the man I knew as Big Wayne. Kind.
This one's for Feldspar.
Daniel R. Jacobs, Olivia