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  • "May our God of all comfort and peace be with your family..."
  • "I never had the privilege of meeting Mr. Townsend but he..."
    - Patti Miller-Johnson
  • "It was always a joy to be in the Townsend home and with the..."
    - Cathy (Cox) Babcock
  • "My condolences to the family of Wayne Townsend...I met him..."
    - Alice Anderson
  • " You can easily judge the character of a man by how he..."
    - Lucina Kessler
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WAYNE TOWNSEND, 89, of Hartford City, Ind., passed away on Friday, July 3, 2015, surrounded by his family. Born on the family farm in Grant County, Ind. (near Upland) on May 1, 1926, Wayne was the sixth and youngest child of Jay Livingston Townsend and Blanche Gillespie Townsend. He started school at Walnut Creek Elementary School at the age of five. Wayne graduated from Jefferson Township High School in 1943. Though his parents did not attend high school, they encouraged all of their children to attend college. Like his older brothers and sisters, Wayne attended Purdue University. He enrolled in the fall of 1947, and he graduated in June of 1951 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Agriculture. Wayne returned to the family farm near Upland, Ind. and married his college sweetheart, Helen Hardin, in November of 1953. In March of 1954, Wayne entered military service and trained at Camp Chaffee, Ark. and Fort Holibird, Baltimore, Md. For the remainder of his military career, he served in Washington D.C. as a special agent in the Counter Intelligence Corps. Wayne and Helen returned to the family farm near Upland, Ind. in March of 1956. They had five children, Jay (born in 1954), Mark (born in 1955), Lisa (born in 1958), Steve (born in 1960), and Alan (born in 1963). In 1965, Wayne and Helen purchased a farm in neighboring Blackford County, Ind., and the family moved there the following year. Wayne was extremely proud of his children. All five graduated from Blackford High School. And all five also graduated from Purdue University. Wayne enjoyed politics. In 1958, at the age of 32, Wayne was elected to the Indiana House of Representatives from Grant County and Blackford County. Wayne served six years in the House of Representatives. In 1970, he was elected to the Indiana State Senate and served 16 years, retiring from the legislature in 1986. During his 22 years in the legislature, Wayne served either on the House Ways and Means Committee or the Senate Finance Committee. In 1984, Wayne was the Democratic nominee for Governor in the State of Indiana. He lost narrowly to Robert Orr even though the Republican candidate for President, Ronald Reagan, carried Indiana by a wide margin. Wayne loved Purdue University. He attended his first football game at Ross Ade Stadium in 1933. He and Helen were regulars at the Purdue Christmas Show. And he often invited the Purdue Glee Club to perform at his Hartford City home for family and friends. Following his years of legislative service, Wayne served on the Board of Trustees of Purdue University for 15 years. He forged an outstanding working relationship with then President of Purdue University, Steven C. Beering. When President Beering retired, Wayne served on the search committee that recommended hiring Martin C. Jischke as President Beering's successor. Wayne also served as a Director of the Purdue Research Foundation, a Trustee of Earlham College in Richmond, Ind., and was a member of the Board of Directors at the Marion National Bank. His other memberships include Lifetime Member of the Purdue Alumni Association, a 35 year member of the John Purdue Club, and 50 year member of the First Friends Church of Marion (where he also served as trustee). Wayne was named a "Sagamore of the Wabash" by four different Governors, Governor Matt Welsh, Governor Evan Bayh, Governor Joe Kernan, and Governor Mike Pence. Wayne was recognized as a Master Farmer by Indiana Prairie Farmer, Distinguished Purdue Ag Alumnus by the College of Agriculture, and with a Certificate of Distinction by the Purdue Ag Alumni Association. In 2014, Wayne was honored with the Order of the Griffin, the highest honor bestowed by Purdue University, by President Mitch Daniels. Wayne is survived by his wife of 61 years, Helen; son, Jay (wife, Rebecca) and their children, Richard, James, Jonathan, Emerson, and Oliver; son, Mark and his children, Katherine (husband, Andy) Glover, Hanna, and Ben; daughter, Lisa (husband, Paul) McHone and their children, Jenni (husband, John) Garrett, Ann, Katie, Chris, and Liz; son, Steve (wife, Beth) and their children Sarah and Jacob; son, Alan (wife, Ruth Ann) and their children, Aja, Jay and Jack; and many loving nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents, Jay and Blanche; and siblings, Martha, James, George, Vida, and Mary. Funeral service is 2 p.m. Saturday, July 11, 2015, at First Friends Church of Marion, 2211 North Wabash Ave., Marion (IN 46952), where friends may call one hour prior. Dane Leitch officiating. Friends may also call from 2 to 5 and 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, July 10, 2015, at First Friends Church of Marion. Burial will follow service at Grant Memorial Cemetery, Marion, Ind. In lieu of flowers, friends are invited to contribute, in memory of Wayne, to one or more of the following charitable causes: (1) First Friends Church of Marion, 2211 North Wabash Ave., Marion, IN 46952; (2) Blackford County Community Foundation, 121 N. High St., PO Box 327, Hartford City, IN 47348; and (3) Purdue Foundation (for the Wayne and Helen Townsend Writing Excellence Fund), Purdue University Development Office, 403 West Wood St., West Lafayette, IN 47907. Arrangements are being handled by Waters Funeral Home, Hartford City. Online condolences may be sent to: www.watersfuneralhomes.com
Funeral Home
Waters Funeral Home
501 W Washington St
Hartford City, IN 47348
(765) 348-0710
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Published in Fort Wayne Newspapers on July 7, 2015
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