Wayne C. Hadley passed away peacefully on February 12, 2023, at the age of 98. He was a proud native Texan born December 18, 1924 in Dallas. Son of Wayne F. Hadley and Alma Wulff Hadley, it was a special gift for his mother, which arrived on her birthday. Wayne knew he was extremely lucky to have two wonderful and loving parents. They were kind, thoughtful, intelligent and hardworking people who gave him an excellent foundation for a successful life.
Wayne spent his childhood in Austin, Texas. Due to his father’s job transfer, the family moved to Detroit, Michigan when Wayne was 13 years old. The much colder northern climate was a great adjustment, but Wayne quickly made friends and enjoyed learning to ice skate. Another move in 1939 brought the family to Topeka, Kansas. Wayne graduated from Topeka High School in 1942. He had many happy memories of his high school years and made several lifelong friendships. There he developed a love of languages, with Spanish being his favorite of him. This led him to major in foreign languages at Washburn University.
Like many of his generation, Wayne’s college years were interrupted by World War II. He enlisted in the United States Navy and attended Notre Dame University midshipmen and officers school. Wayne’s three-year naval career was served on a troop carrier that carried soldiers between the United States and Europe and to other locations, including India. The vessel carried 3,000 soldiers and sailed a route that traversed the rough seas of the North Atlantic Ocean. Wayne served as navigator and artillery officer. He described how the waves were sometimes 50 to 60 feet high, reaching the top deck of the ship. These weather conditions could last for days at a time.
Wayne left the Navy in 1946 with the rank of Lieutenant Junior Grade. He then returned to Topeka to complete his education where he received a bachelor’s degree in 1947 and a JD from Washburn Law School in 1949. He was a member of Phi Delta Theta fraternity in Washburn. In his spare time, Wayne enjoyed playing golf at the Topeka Country Club. He also enjoyed singing and playing popular music on his guitar.
Wayne married Billie Powell in 1949 and they had two children, Jodi Lynn Hadley (Mackey) and Steven Wayne Hadley. Wayne and Billie divorced after 16 years of marriage. He later married Diane Brooks Marsh and they divorced after 30 years together.
Wayne was hired as director of national sales at Myers & Co., a publisher of school yearbooks in Topeka, Kansas. In this position, he traveled throughout the United States, usually leaving home on Sunday and returning on Friday evening. To facilitate his travels, Wayne learned to fly a small plane. He holds a commercial pilot license and has logged nearly 4,000 flight hours, mostly piloting a Beechcraft Bonanza.
When Myers was acquired by Josten’s, Wayne had the opportunity to move back to his beloved Austin, Texas in 1967. Back in Austin, he greatly expanded and developed Josten’s sales force across the state and increased company sales in Texas. In 1981, Wayne moved to New Braunfels, Texas, where he lived for the rest of his life. He spent the last few years of his career working as a sales manager in Texas for Herff Jones, a national company of yearbooks and class rings. Since he was fluent in Spanish, his territory also included Puerto Rico and Venezuela.
In 1983, Wayne entered a long and happy retirement. Both mental and physical exercise were important parts of his life. Every morning he worked on crossword puzzles, played solitaire on his laptop and watched old movies, preferably in Spanish. He was also a big fan of starting the day with a laugh while reading newspaper comics. For 20 years, Wayne has been a dedicated racer. Eventually, he transitioned from running to walking and weight training at the YMCA and later at Das Rec. He has often attributed his excellent health and longevity to exercise with a little help from modern medicine. Wayne has also been an outdoors man all his life. He had several fishing trips in Canada and owned a ranch with a beautiful creek, a pecan grove and abundant wildlife near Brackettville, Texas. He has spent many happy days there with family, friends and work colleagues.
Wayne’s passion for golf lasted a lifetime. He never stopped learning about golf and working to improve his game. He continued to play 9 holes weekly with friends until a few months ago. On October 22, 2014 Wayne made the first hole-in-one at the newly renovated Landa Park Golf Course. This fortunate feat was the subject of an article in the New Braunfels Herald Zeitung on his 90th birthday. Wayne loved sharing his generous knowledge of golf with his great-nephew, Mackey Samuels. He loved watching Mackey develop his golf skills both in person and on videos sent in by Mackey’s parents.
Wayne was devoted to his family, friends and dogs. Over the years, he has had four Chihuahuas who were much loved and constant companions. He was able to live independently in the New Braunfels home of his daughter and son-in-law until recently. They traveled from Topeka, Kansas to New Braunfels to spend several months of the year with him. He also enjoyed spending time with his only granddaughter, Jessica Samuels, and her family.
Wayne’s son Steven died in 2018. He is survived by his daughter, Jodi Mackey, and son-in-law, Dave Mackey of Topeka, Kansas and New Braunfels, Texas; granddaughter, Jessica Mackey Samuels (John) and great-granddaughter, Mackey Samuels of Topeka, Kansas; sister, Joan Szuwalski and her three children of Del Norte, Colorado; and the Russell family and Diana Vollbrecht of New Braunfels, Texas, who were his closest friends. Diana and Wayne have run and hiked together for over 40 years. Russell and Wayne played golf together. They treated Wayne like family and were constant sources of support and friendship.
Wayne was fortunate to have exceptional health and a sharp mind until the end of his life. His family is grateful for the excellent care he has received from Christus Hospital, Memory Care of New Braunfels, Home Instead and Hope Hospice. As he wished, Wayne has been cremated and there will be no public funeral service. Memorial contributions in time or money can be made to the charity of the donor’s choice. If you knew Wayne, remember him as he smiled and enjoyed life. He had a long, interesting, happy and healthy time on Earth and was appreciative and grateful for all the wonderful people and experiences along the way.