Saturday, January 19, 2013
Wayne Beto (1937-2013)
Wayne was born on January 19, 1937, and died today, his 76th birthday, in Woodstock.
I met Wayne one day, when I passed his parked car with all those signs taped onto it, where it was parked in "Wayne's Spot" on U.S. 14 in Crystal Lake, just east of IL 176. You know the spot. IDOT ought to put up an historic marker on that patch of shoulder.
Wayne had a beef with Viking Dodge, and he just wouldn't let it go. He was right, you know. He told me the story. I told him and others often, if Viking Dodge had just apologized, it would have been all over. On one hot July day when he was carrying his sign and picketing right in front of the dealership, had they brought out a couple of lawn chairs, a beach umbrella and a cooler with a few bottles of cold water or soda, that would have been the last they would have seen of him.
But Wayne was tough. And the rougher they wanted to play, the more resolute he became.
It was a pleasure to know Wayne. I visited him often at his Marengo home, where he lived with his son, daughter-in-law and grandson. Wayne was honest, strong and cheerful. He cared about others. I don't think we ever had a conversation when he didn't ask me how my stepson was doing.
Wayne was ready to go. We had some fine conversations during the past few weeks, and I feel privileged that Wayne and I were friends. Godspeed, Wayne. You're free now.
(Author's note: Wayne Beto was born in 1937. Dates above have been corrected. 1/22/13)