Remembering and missing an unforgettable friend

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Every year, towards the end of May, my husband and I visit the small garden at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church. We pray the prayer of St. Francis (“Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace …”) and we leave flowers where the ashes of our friend, Wayne Franz, were committed to the earth.

Wayne has been gone 6 years. Yet I still picture him. I see him mostly at St. Andrew’s, sitting in front of a computer, in the office. Every time we entered, Wayne would look up, beam at us, and greet us with sincere delight: “How are the Sports?!” Wayne was easy to love, because he so obviously loved us.

I also still picture Wayne at the service station next to the hotel where I worked for 10 years. On Sundays, Wayne was the picture of decorum, suited as an usher or vested as a lay-minister … but Monday mornings at George’s, he’d be in casual shorts, scratching lottery tickets, and laughing with his exuberant friends. Wayne knew how to be both holy and profane, in the best sense of both.

I can see him, too, regularly visiting a rehabilitation hospital adjacent to my subdivision. Wayne tirelessly cared for a dying friend, doing anything he could during his final days. He made it look easy.

I trust that some of you knew Wayne Franz; and will understand exactly why I miss him. Surely there are places in PTC where you still can picture him. Sitting there … just being Wayne. Which was about as perfect as it got.

Suzanne Sports

Peachtree City, Ga.

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