Wayne E. Dannehl

May 3, 1937 ~ June 3, 2022 (age 85)


Wayne E. Dannehl was born on May 3, 1937, in Watseka, Illinois, the twelfth and last child of William and Gussie Dannehl. He died on June 3, 2022.

Wayne graduated from Onarga High School in 1955, earning a total of 16 varsity letters. A trumpeter in the high school band, he played Taps for multiple military funerals. He attended Northern Illinois University where he competed in football, wrestling and baseball. He graduated with high honors, and was selected to the COSIDA Academic All-American football team his senior year as a center. He was the captain and also had the distinction of being the only center in college football to call the plays for the team.

In addition to going to school full time, working and competing in sports, he met and married his wife of 65 years, Carole DeWall.

In 1972, after receiving his PHD at the University of Illinois, he accepted the position of Athletic Director and Associate Professor at the University of Wisconsin - Parkside, in Kenosha, Wisconsin. For many years, Wayne refereed high school wrestling meets in Wisconsin and Illinois including the Illinois state meet. He was instrumental in designing and developing the UW-Parkside National Cross Country course, which now bears his name. This cross country course has hosted hundreds of championships at every level. Wayne served as a member of the United States Olympic Committee that designed the cross country course for the Modern Pentathlon at the 1996 Atlanta Games.

Wayne’s many honors include NAIA Hall of Fame, UW Parkside Hall of Fame, NAIA and Illinois Wrestling Coaches and Officials Hall of Fame. He was a charter member of the Wisconsin Cross Country Coaches Hall of Fame.

In 2000, Wayne and Carole retired to Osprey Lake in Hayward, WI. Wayne is survived by his wife, Carole; his daughters, Denise (David) Zirbel and Diane (James) Rogala; grandchildren Jamie (Matthew) Myers, Jared Zirbel, Jameson (Nicole)Rogala, Broderick Wayne (Kasandra)Rogala; great-grandchildren Carson and Connor Myers; and many nieces and nephews. In addition, he was survived by Jim Gelden; Julie and Mark Harris: special friends who became family.

A celebration of life will be held at a date to be determined.


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