10/01/09 — A friend, lost: Jerry Wayne gave much to his adopted community

View Archive

A friend, lost: Jerry Wayne gave much to his adopted community

The beach music will have a hollow swing to it today as radio personality Jerry Wayne's friends and fans remember the man who enjoyed it with them day after day.

But sadness and tears are not what Jerry Wayne would have wanted -- not for his community.

It was not what he gave them when he did his radio show or when he greeted them with a hearty hello and a handshake or hug.

It is not what he gave them when he emceed the annual Tinker Best Golf Tournament or when he announced the balloon release at the Relay for Life.

This was a man whose heart was as big as they come -- and a man who had a perspective on life to match that welcoming and open heart.

He gave of himself in so many ways -- from the organizations he assisted to the friends and family who were so important to his life.

It did not matter if you were a cancer survivor he just met or a friend he had known for years. He was there as a cheerleader, a prankster or just someone who cared enough to hold your hand and listen.

He understood just how much that mattered.

Although he was taken away much too soon, Jerry Wayne's impact on his adopted hometown will be one that will have lasting power.

But he would not have wanted it to be about him. He would have dismissed his impact here with a smile and a shrug and a reference to all the "volunteers who made it happen."

He was just the entertainment, he would have said.

And that is why, today, the beach music doesn't quite sound the same, and so many hearts are so broken at the news of his loss.

Jerry Wayne never really cared who got the spotlight or the glory. He did not take the microphone at charity events to advance his career.

He gave of himself because he cared.

And that, not the length of a life, is the true measure of a man -- and why Jerry Wayne has left a legacy that is an example for others to follow.

Published in Editorials on October 1, 2009 10:58 AM