May 17, 1934-Aug. 3, 2019
Services for Wayne Converse Dew will be Wednesday, Aug. 7 at 11 a.m. in the Sanctuary of First Baptist Church of Natchitoches with the Rev. Tommy Rush officiating. Interment will follow at American Cemetery with military honors. Visitation will be Tuesday, Aug. 6 from 5-8 p.m. at the church and from 10-11 a.m. Wednesday before the service.
Wayne was born May 17, 1934, in Lecompte to Boyd Fitzhugh Whittington and Sallie Converse Whittington and passed away Saturday, Aug. 3, 2019, at the age of 85 from a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease.
His parents divorced when he was very young, and he and his mother and grandmother moved to Natchitoches where his mother worked as a registered nurse and hospital administrator. His mother later married Steadman Joseph “Red” Dew, who adopted Wayne in 1947 and raised him as his own son. Wayne often said his adoption day was one of the happiest days of his life!
Wayne graduated from Natchitoches High School in 1952 and received a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from Northwestern State College in Natchitoches in 1956, where he was a member of Sigma Tau Gamma fraternity. He earned a commission as a 2nd Lieutenant in the U.S. Army upon graduation.
Soon after graduation, he married JoAnn “Jody” Tarver of Many June 3, 1956, whom he met at NSC. A month after their marriage, he reported for active duty as an anti-aircraft artillery officer at Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas, where Jody soon joined him. His active duty assignments included the 76th AAA Batallion in Nagoya, Japan, and Fort Buckner, Okinawa. While on Okinawa, he was re-assigned from air defense to USARYIS Special Services Headquarters where he was assistant adjutant. One of his most important administrative duties was the coordination of the USO shows. Because of this assignment, he met many celebrities of the day, including Bob Hope, Jayne Mansfield, Mickey Hargitay and Les Brown and his Band of Renown.
In 1958, he and Jody returned to Natchitoches where Wayne took over his father’s business, Dew’s Loan Company, which he owned until his retirement in 2014. He entered the Army Reserves upon his return to the states, serving in the 90th Regional Support Command and the 95th Regiment. He spent summers training and teaching at Army posts all over the country, culminating with an assignment as a military science instructor to officers at the Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kan. He retired in 1984 with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.
Wayne was very active in the Natchitoches community over his lifetime. He was elected to the Natchitoches Parish School Board in 1962 at the age of 28, and served the citizens and children of Natchitoches Parish for 18 years. He held all elected positions on the school board, including President. At the state level, he was very active with the Louisiana School Boards Association. He represented the Congressional District on the LSBA legislative committee, served on the resolutions committee and was the legislative liaison to the state association for Natchitoches Parish. He served as First Vice-President and, in 1976, was elected President of the LSBA. In addition, he was a member of the National School Boards Association and represented Louisiana as a voting delegate at their national conventions. He served as part of an advisory group to the Federal Energy Office representing the nation’s schools in the energy crisis of the 1970s and was selected to a position on the Federal Relations Network, which was a liaison group between the NSBA, the U.S. Congress and the Executive Branch in Washington, D.C.
He was a member of the Natchitoches Lions Club, Rotary Club and the Natchitoches-Northwestern Symphony Society. He was a long-time member of First Baptist Church of Natchitoches where he was a member of the Couples Too Sunday School class.
Wayne loved football and spent many weekend nights attending both high school and college games. He supported the Natchitoches Central Chiefs and was usually in attendance at most home and away games. He served as president of the NCHS Football Booster Club when his son, Lance, was a team member. He was a huge LSU fan and loved the magic of a night game in Tiger Stadium.
Wayne was the epitome of a Southern Gentleman. He had a kind and gentle spirit, and he took care of those he loved. He had a quick wit and a dry sense of humor. His family was the light of his life, and he was happiest when all of his children and grandchildren were home and gathered together for holidays and family celebrations. He was proud to be called “Papa” by his grandchildren.
Wayne was preceded in death by his parents, Steadman Joseph and Sallie Converse Dew; his father, Boyd Whittington; step-brother and sister-in-law, Jack and Nan Dew; and his nephew and his wife, Randy and Kathleen Dew.
He is survived by his beloved wife of 63 years, JoAnn “Jody” Dew; his children, Christy Layne Dew of Shreveport, Kelly Dew Scott of Natchitoches and Lance Reagan Dew and wife Lori of Butler, Penn.; grandchildren, Carlee Alison Scott and Whitt Converse Scott of Natchitoches, and Shane Reagan Dew and Kathryn Ann “Katie” Dew of Butler; brother-in-law, Mike Tarver of Many; niece, Cindy Dew Williams and husband Johnny; and nephew, Scott Dew and wife Kim, all of West Monroe; and his half-brother, Charles Whittington of Pine Prairie.
Honoring him as pallbearers will be Jack McCain Jr., Kendal Perkins, David Kees, Rick Hudson, Lance Dew and Whitt Scott.
Honorary pallbearers will be Charles Whittington, Mike Tarver, Jimmy Berry, Van Barker and Kenneth Perkins.
The family would like to extend a special thank you to Tiffany Burrell, Donna Leone, and Pauline Tucker for their loving and compassionate care of Wayne in his last few months.
Memorials may be made to the Alzheimer’s Association or to the Shriner’s Hospital for Children in Shreveport.