Wayne Edward Dye, a beloved, former Woodstock educator and coach, passed away early in the morning of Friday, May 26, 2023, with family by his side. He was born on March 3, 1946, to the late Forrest and Anna (Thiery) Dye in Kewanee, Ill.
Wayne was the youngest of three boys. Despite an 11- and 7-year age difference, Wayne had many fond memories of his late brother, George, and his brother, Harold. Wayne worked alongside his brothers and father on their farm outside of Kewanee while their mother gardened and cooked for the family. It was during the daily chores and working together that Wayne began to develop his strong work ethic, his devotion to family and realized the importance of teamwork. Throughout Wayne’s life he spoke of his time on the farm with pride.
During Wayne’s own childhood education, he continued that sense of pride in his accomplishments, but more importantly, through the accomplishments of others. Wayne’s childhood scrapbook includes more articles about his classmates than himself! However, Wayne won numerous ribbons for showing his animals in the county fair, was the sports editor of the high school yearbook, played for the basketball team, and was class president for his beloved Wethersfield High School. Wayne graduated in 1964 and attending reunions with his “’64 forevermore” friends had been a highlight ever since.
After graduating, Wayne went to Northern Illinois University where he met Barbara Salmen at a “Grubby Dance.” Barb quickly became the love of his life. The young couple married in 1967, and they lived in a little trailer home in DeKalb as Wayne finished his teaching degree. In 1969, their daughter, Amy, was born, and Wayne accepted a physical education teaching position in Woodstock. Son Dave was born in 1971, and Wayne loved nothing more than his little family of four.
Mr. Dye taught elementary physical education to over 15,000 students in Woodstock from 1969 to 2001. In addition to teaching at Westwood, the former Northwood Elementary School (now Verda Dierzen), and Mary Endres, he coached football at Northwood and Olson Middle Schools, basketball at Northwood Middle School, softball at Woodstock High School, and taught driver’s education in both McHenry and Woodstock. Receiving Teacher of the Year in 1999 was one of his favorite achievements. His motto, “Mr. Dye Says Try,” was evident throughout his teaching career. Whatever a student’s ability level, Coach Dye challenged his students to put in the effort to improve. You did not have to be a great athlete to be great in Mr. Dye’s eyes. One of the highlights of his life was seeing his former students and hearing their stories. Mr. Dye loved his students, and they knew it.
For as much as Wayne loved his students, he loved his family even more. He demonstrated his devotion through both words and actions. Wayne and Barb spent almost all of their free time with family and enjoyed the simple things in life like bike riding, taking walks, and hot fudge sundaes. He and Barb took weeks-long camping trips with Amy and Dave, which created many cherished memories of their time together in almost all of the 50 states. In addition, Wayne enjoyed working outside, snow skiing, boating, and riding horses. In more recent years, any outing with Dave and Barb, extended family, and friends was treasured.
After Barb’s near-fatal brain aneurysm in 2008, she needed around-the-clock care. Wayne was her primary caregiver for over 10 years. Wayne was the epitome of unconditional love. Wayne would want people to know how deeply grateful he was for all the support over the years.
Wayne’s four grandsons brought him immense joy, and he and Barb loved any chance to be with them. Highlights include attending the boys’ events, traveling to Disney World, playing and working on their horse farm together, and root beer floats after a hot day of baling hay. Later, Wayne was so grateful for all Brad, Danny, Matty, and Zach did to assist him and Barb.
Wayne will be remembered for his integrity, kindness, resilience and courage. He will be dearly missed by his wife of almost 56 years, Barb; his brother, Harold (Rose) Dye; his children, Amy (Bobbie) Blalock and David Dye; and his grandsons, Bradley, Daniel, Matthew, and Zachary Blalock. In addition, he will be fondly remembered by his in-laws, Gail and Jim Mathieson and Dan and Dannelle Salmen; numerous nieces, nephews and cousins; friends from all stages of his life; and students.
The visitation was from 3 to 7 p.m., with a short prayer service starting at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, June 2, 2023, at Schneider, Leucht, Merwin & Cooney Funeral Home, 1211 N. Seminary Ave. The visitation continued from 10 a.m. until the 11 a.m. Mass was celebrated Saturday, June 3, 2023, at St. Patrick’s Church of Hartland, 15012 St. Patrick Road. Interment was at St. Patrick’s Cemetery, with a luncheon at the church immediately following.
In lieu of flowers, donations to help cover medical expenses accrued throughout Wayne’s health battles are appreciated as are donations to the Woodstock Education Foundation.
For information, contact the Schneider, Leucht, Merwin & Cooney Funeral Home at 815-338-1710 or visit slmcfh.com