by Thom Van Vleck
Got word that one of our USAWA brothers and long time Jackson Weightlifting Club member Wayne Smith passed away. Wayne was a guy that goes way back. He did the “Odd Lifting” back in the 50’s and 60’s when Ed Zercher kept the records. Smith even predates Bill Clark in his lifting career. There are a couple of good stories on Wayne Smith archived in the website if you’d like to brush up on this great lifter.
The last meet Wayne attended was last year’s USAWA Nationals held in Kirksville, Missouri. Wayne had to enjoy the meet as a spectator but he told me at one point how he itched to get on the platform. He even said he hoped to get back into shape to do so!
I have many stories on Wayne, he was a unique individual that loved his weightlifting. He encouraged me a lot and since he never had kids of his own, I think in some way he adopted me. He would take photos around bragging on me and it made me want to live up to his stories! Which made me train harder as sometimes Wayne could make a guy look too good! But he always spoke highly of his friends, that was just him. The last time I visited him he insisted that I go around the nursing home to introduce me to everyone. He was a friend to all.
Wayne will be missed. His funeral will be next Monday in Kirksville. I you have a kind word about him you would like to pass on, send it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I will make sure his family and friends get it. His legend will live on, not because he was the greatest lifter but because he was the greatest friend.