Wayne Wastell


Wayne Wastell, Chad’s paternal grandfather, died on Tuesday, November 17, 2015, of the effects of advanced aging.  He was 100 years, 5 months and 10 days old.  He had 3 children, 9 grandchildren, 21 great-grandchildren, and 17 great-great-grandchildren, with #18 on the way. He was buried in Beresford, SD, this weekend. Following are the remarks Chad shared at his memorial service.


I am the youngest grandchild of the oldest person I know.  There’s a 67 year age difference between us.  Everyone has their own perspective on Grandpa – their own facet or lens.  There is only one person who really knew the whole person of Wayne Wastell.  My goal today is just to share my facet, my lens.

I always wanted a closer relationship with my grandfather, but in reflection of our relationship, I learned a lot from my grandfather.

Lesson One.

Not everything needs to be said.  And the corollary – if you wait long enough, someone will say it.

Wayne Wastell was a man of few words, and I learned that wisdom doesn’t have to be verbose.  There is humor and wisdom in one liners.  And, watching and listening is how you learn the truth of a thing, not from talking.  Grandpa never sat me down and said “here’s something you should learn” but rather, these lessons came from observation, and pondering his few words.

Lesson Two.

Grandpa was an avid Pitch player.  Through watching him play Pitch, I learned that you don’t have to have all the pieces – or really any at all – to be pretty sure it will all work out.  Grandpa was famous for saying “7 on nothing” before he was even dealt his hand.  I learned that taking risks is often a more successful strategy than sitting back and being timid or waiting for absolutely everything to line up.

Lesson Three.

Stubbornness gets you more time.  God has lessons for us all, and He has more patience than we have stubbornness.  Time softens most things – even Wayne Wastell.

Lesson Four.

You can play the odds, but they’re not guaranteed.  If you have a good hand it doesn’t mean you will win, and if you have a poor hand it does not mean you will lose. Grandpa did everything medically unadvised, and he lived 100 years 5 months, and 10 days.

Lesson Five.

You always need other people to help.  Grandpa couldn’t care for himself those last few years, but he’s the only person I know that managed to have tobacco inside a tobacco free facility.

Not everything about my Grandpa was perfect, and I don’t want to embellish his life after his death.  Grandpa never embellished his words; he always told it as he saw it.  As I said before, only one person, God, knew the whole person of Wayne Wastell.  So we each have our piece.  And it’s our responsibility and honor – as his fifty descendants, friends and other relatives – to carry on his legacy in our own way.

In the words of Wayne Wastell, “Let’s all play!”


Wastell Men

Four generations of Wastell men: Wayne, Marvin, Blaine, Tristen, Chad, Elijah. Photo taken on Wayne’s 100th birthday – June 7, 2015.

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