Obituary for Wayne Sanford Kaufman

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Dr. Wayne S. Kaufman suffered no fools, living a life filled with purpose, hard-work, and humor right up until his passing on March 17, 2018. He began a life-long affiliation with the Ohio State University when he was born at University Hospital in Columbus on August 9, 1928. Wayne and his brother Thomas were raised in Woodstock, Ohio by his Irish great-grandmother, Mary Ellen Forsythe, living on a Civil War widow’s pension. The Great Depression loomed over Wayne’s childhood, and those lean years necessitated the development of certain survival skills; he learned to hunt, fish, tend garden – skills he exercised for most of his adult life – and he just might have nicked a melon or two, a skill he thankfully forgot.
When he was 16, Wayne ran away to join the Merchant Marine during World War II. On his way, providence changed his life when it started to rain, and love changed his life after he decided to wait out the storm at his beloved Aunt Dora and Uncle Oliver Hayes’ red brick house in Milford Center, Ohio. At what he considers a turning point in his life, possibly saving it, the Hayes’s convinced him to stay and finish what had already been a brilliant high school career. Wayne grew up too soon, yet he excelled both academically and athletically, two disciplines he always drew from in both his personal and professional life. The faculty and administration at Woodstock High school thought much of Wayne, pleading with him to go to college after his graduation in 1946. Wayne did go to college, but not until after he served in the Military Police Corps of the United States Army, serving in the Panama Canal Zone during the aftermath of World War II, where he rarely had to draw his service weapon, with the exception of one dark night when he shot a hapless tree sloth that failed to properly identify itself.
Wayne went back to the place of his birth – the Ohio State University – matriculating with the class of 1952. Summers were spent driving cement mixers, bailing hay, and working on his Uncle Oliver’s section gang on the Pennsylvania Railroad. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Education, but the truly ‘major’ accomplishment during those years was falling in love with Alice Louise Gabriel, a music school student across town at Capital University. Wayne and Alice were married on September 1, 1950, and were together until Alice’s passing 64 years later. After graduating, the next eight years were spent teaching and coaching at high schools in Bremen, McArthur, and Ada, Ohio, activities that were intermittently interrupted by the births of Melissa Sue in 1954, and Jeffrey Alan in 1955. He returned to Ohio State as a graduate assistant and assistant instructor, earning his Master’s Degree in 1961. In 1964 he earned his Ph.D., when he published his dissertation, “The effect of football equipment on core temperature, heart rate, oxygen uptake and pulmonary ventilation of athletes during exercise”, which included the then-novel idea that practicing football players should increase their intake of water and salt to avoid heatstroke. Gatorade was created one year later.
Wayne was the Supervisor of Health, Physical Education and Interscholastic Athletics at Cuyahoga Falls City Schools until 1967. That year he moved with Alice, Melissa, and Jeffrey to Wisconsin, accepting the position of Director of Student Teaching at the University of Wisconsin –La Crosse. “Doc”, as he was known, taught at UW-L for 24 years, giving him the authority to let his son Oliver, born in 1972, roamMitchell Hall with impunity. Wayne taught, coached the Women’s Softball Team, and mentored dozens of graduate students as they drafted their theses. He even opened up his home to some as a quiet, safe place to stay while they did so.In the years following the passage of Title IX, Wayne was selected to oversee the combining of the men’s and women’s physical education programs, and served as the Chairman of the Health, Physical Education and Recreation Department from 1974 until 1983.
Wayne retired in 1991, and was recognized for his exemplary career at UW-Lby beingadded to the university’s Wall of Fame the following year. His work at UW-L helped to establish and distinguish programs that were of sufficient caliber to warrant attendance by two of his grandchildren, who followed in his footsteps by studying exercise sports science.
After his retirement, Wayne continued to be voracious reader, grew bushels of vegetables (his tomatoes appeared sliced on a plate for every meal), exercised whenever he could, and enjoyed walking his beloved dog Chloe. He traveled the United States, Central America, and Europe, even spending a few winters in Italy with dear friends and colleagues from UW-L. He admired his colleagues at UW-L, and counted some of them among his best friends. But his most memorable moments were likely those springs spent on the beaches of South Carolina and Florida, where the family went in the 1990s to be together for months on end while Jeffrey battled ALS. Wayne came out of retirement to teach his grandchildren Spanish, algebra, and biology while they were away from their regular classes, even auditing college courses himself in the subjects to ensure they didn’t miss out on a quality education.
Wayne had the opportunity to give parting advice to his grandchildren before he passed away. Simply put, he told them to try to help others whenever they could and to stay close to and take care of their families, guidance he exemplified his entire life.
Wayne is survived by his daughter Melissa (Philip) Gelatt; his son Oliver J. Kaufman; his daughter-in-law Jan C. (Brennan) Kaufman; six grandchildren; Nora (J.P.) Murray, Benjamin (Rebecca) Kaufman; Sarah M. Kaufman; Clare (Nathan) Quebedeaux; Virginia (Kevin) Brooks; John Duncan Wannamaker; four great-grandchildren (Joseph Murray, Cecelia Murray, Frances Brooks, and John William Brooks); cousins Richard (Elsie) Hayes, and Jan (Vern) Bright.
Preceded in death by his wife, Alice Louise; son, Jeffrey Alan; brother, Thomas; and Uncle Oliver and Aunt Dora Hayes.
Friends and family are invited for a time of visitation on Friday, March 23rd from 4:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. at the Dickinson Family Funeral Home (1425 Jackson St., La Crosse). A memorial service will be held at First Presbyterian Church in La Crosse on Saturday, March 24 at 11:00 a.m. Memorials may be given to The ALS Association Wisconsin Chapter, 3333 North Mayfair Road, Suite 104 Wauwatosa, WI, 53222. Information and online condolences may be given to the family at