Wayne John Wedlake

Wayne John Wedlake, 70, passed away on June 16, 2019 in Houston, Texas. He was born on March 14, 1949 in Chicago, Illinois to William and Margaret Wedlake. Wayne is survived by: his daughter, Windy Jean Wedlake Neff (spouse Christopher Neff) of Pittsburgh, PA; grandchildren, Colin and Connor Neff; brother, William Earl Wedlake (spouse Deborah Gene McDougall Wedlake) of San Antonio, TX; niece, Stacey Alyce Wedlake (spouse Tobias Kammer, children Arlo and Astrid Kammer) of Seattle, WA; and nephew, Shay Garrett Wedlake (spouse Erin Day) of Prescott Valley, AZ; and numerous family members and friends.
Wayne worked at NASA’s Johnson Space Center as an Extravehicular Activity (EVA or Space Walks) Flight Controller and Crew Trainer from 1980, beginning just before the first Space Shuttle Launch and continuing through his retirement, when much of the EVA assembly of the International Space Station was complete. He was a key member on the Mission Operations team that planned, trained and executed the first Shuttle spacewalk, which marked a new era of EVA for NASA. He went on to support multiple satellite rescue missions, Hubble Space Telescope servicing missions, and International Space Station assembly missions. His mechanical talents benefited the work of many of his co-workers, flight controllers, instructors, and astronauts. He could always figure out how things worked, what might be wrong, and explain it all to the others in a way that they could understand.
Wayne was an expert mechanic away from the office as well, patiently helping many people through their car problems with his deep knowledge and sage advice, while making them feel more competent in the process. He was an award-winning sharp shooter and loved old western movies. He was a kind, generous, reliable, and true friend to all.
A memorial will be held on Friday, June 21, 2019 at 4:30 pm at Crowder Funeral Home, 111 E Medical Center Blvd, Webster, TX 77598. In lieu of flowers those wishing to make a memorial donation Wayne’s memory may do so to Bay Area Meals on Wheels, c/o House of Prayer Lutheran Church, 14045 Space Center Blvd., Houston, TX 77062.

15 comments

  1. Wayne was an amazing and talented man. We met him delivering Meals on Wheels every week. He faced his physical obstacles with courage and humor. We enjoyed our weekly chats and were always impressed with his knowledge. His experiences were incredible, and yet he shared them with humility. He was the highlight of our day, and he will be greatly missed by my husband and I. I feel as if the light has been dimmed. It has been a privilege to know such a sweet and generous guy. Thanks for everything, Wayne. Mondays will never be the same.

    Julie and Larry Engleman
  2. A fine man and good friend ..love you brother

    Steve Kise
  3. So sorry to hear about Wayne. He was a grammar and high school classmate of mine. Grew up only 2 blocks away from each other. We have messaged back and forth a few times especially last year for our 50th HS reunion. Wish he would have attended. He will be missed. You and your family are in our prayers
    Diane Greske Turek
    Tom Turek.

    Diane Turek
  4. My deepest sympathy to the Wedlake family. The loss of a loved one is so hard to bear. Our heavenly Father lovingly assures us “I will really hold on to you with my right hand of righteousness.” (Isa. 41:10) May the God of all comfort be with you at this difficult time. (2 Cor. 1:3,4)

    CM
  5. I am one of the astronauts who benefitted from Wayne’s knowledge and teaching abilities. He was a fine man and true friend. Please accept my sincere condolences.
    Kathy Sullivan
    STS-41G, 31, 45

    Kathy Sullivan
    • Thank you for your remembrance Kathy! What a fine tribute to be remembered fondly by one of his best CB “students.”

      Bill Bowers
  6. I worked with Wayne in EVA for several years before his retirement. He was always very helpful and had a wealth of knowledge. A very mild mannered fellow. He will be missed.

    David Barrett
  7. I had the good fortune to work with Wayne for several years in Houston and am privileged to have him in my life. He was a great mentor and friend, teaching many lessons about engineering and life in general. Of all the great memories, my favorite is the time I shared a funny personal story with him. Wayne laughed so much for so long he was crying and I thought he might pass out from a lack of oxygen. Never have I seen anyone laugh that hard. For years after, we still got a kick out of that moment. My condolences to the Wedlake family for this loss.

    Rich Gauvreau
  8. I worked with Wayne back in the 90’s while I was working in EVA Safety and Mission Assurance. One thing I could always rely on was calling on Wayne for help answering questions. He was always very humble, willing to help and interested that I learn more than what I asked. I had a lot of admiration for Wayne. This world is less desirable without him. My sincere condolences to his family.

    Nina
  9. Wayne was always there to listen. He was somewhere between a wise mentor, sort-of-big-brother figure, and car repair aficionado – but always a friend. Any time I’d stop by his house, he’d take the time to look over my car to make sure it was still drivable. I miss him.

    Kieth
  10. Wayne and I were house mates for a few years in the mid/late ’80s when we both worked in EVA/Crew Systems. He was a good friend and a sincere listener. Besides his valued skills at JSC, he was an excellent flight instructor and pilot. Windy, I remember meeting you a few times in those years on Woodhaven when you were young. My sincere condolences to you and the family. Your dad was a unique and well-liked individual and I will miss him.

    Chuck Borne

    Chuck Borne
  11. Wayne was such a class act in our Crew Systems section which included EVA, Crew Systems, and Photo/TV. He was so very sharp but didn’t wear that on his sleeve. I was in P/TV so my interactions with Wayne were usually about flying and all too few! We also had similar passions for cars and shooting but life got in the way…clearly my loss! My most profound condolences to Wayne’s family and close friends! For a man such as Wayne, 70 is far too young to leave us!

    Bill Bowers
  12. Wayne was a mentor to me when I first started at JSC and a true friend. He was humble, kind, funny, patient and generous. He was extremely talented and made significant contributions to EVA. I have such great memories of Wayne, and I’m so very sorry for your loss.

    Sue Rainwater
  13. I, too, was fortunate to have worked with Wayne for many years. He was brilliant, kind, and friendly—always pleased to share his immense knowledge. His expertise came to him as second nature. Wayne’s ingenuity, innovativeness, and inventiveness were more than just impressive qualities; they had real and tangible impacts on space exploration. Surely, he set a very high standard of professionalism for all of us to aspire. I am privileged Wayne touched my life, and so grateful for his service to human spaceflight and the community.

    Alan Simon
  14. I was also fortunate and blessed to work with Wayne in the EVA Operations Group at NASA. Wayne was the experience and knowledge that was the foundation of our team and EVA operations which all us newbies learned from. His straight forward approach kept us on course. I remember in the thick of the moment when everyone was scratching their heads, all heads would turn to Wayne. He would calmly explain his thoughts and we would say “brilliant! of course! why didn’t we think of that?”. Thank you Wayne! You will be missed.

    John Haensly

Leave Your Condolences

Make sure you enter the (*) required information where indicated. Basic HTML code is allowed.