Wayne Clemens Wassmuth, 71, of Walla Walla and formerly of Cottonwood, passed away Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2019, at Providence St. Mary Medical Center in Walla Walla.
Wayne was a fighter. It was not apparent at first glance, but from the age of 12 until Monday night, he fought hard each day to stay alive.
Being diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes was just the start of a lifelong battle to beat this disease and its side effects. Frequent high and low blood sugar episodes would cause him to lose consciousness. Retinopathy tried to rob him of his sight. Bleeding brain vessels required brain surgery, and two heart attacks would try to kill him. Both of his kidneys failed, and he would have to wait years for a transplant. He lost all feeling of touch in his feet, legs and parts of his hands. He battled deep abscesses on both feet. Leg arteries blocked in many locations almost cost him his legs. Lung and liver cancer with gallbladder failure eventually teamed up to defeat him.
On April 3, 1948, Wayne entered this world, the first child of Ellen and Clemens Wassmuth, in Cottonwood. He graduated from St. Gertrude’s Academy in Cottonwood in 1966 and was the salutatorian of his class.
At St. Martin’s College, Wayne studied philosophy. At the University of Idaho, he studied education.
Despite his constant state of illness, Wayne worked at many types of employment. He worked at Channel Lumber in Craigmont, taught school at St. Peter and Paul’s Elementary School in Grangeville and was a parts man at both Gortsema Motors in Grangeville and Dayl Graves Buick/GMC in Walla Walla. His true love was farm work, and he worked many years at the Wahl farm near Genesee.
Surviving siblings are Judy (Mike) Clovis, of Grangeville, Vic, of Lewiston, Lee (Kathy), of Boise, and Diane (Mike) Shryock, of Burien, Wash. Many nieces and nephews plus several great-nieces and -nephews also survive him. His aunt, Liz Wassmuth, of Cottonwood; two uncles, Tony and Len Wassmuth, of Grangeville; and most of his 95 first cousins outlive him.
Wayne’s parents and many aunts and uncles preceded him in death.
A rosary will be recited at 10 a.m. Saturday at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Cottonwood. The funeral Mass will follow at 10:30 a.m. Burial will take place at the Cottonwood Catholic Cemetery. You may submit condolences to the family at blackmerfuneralhome.com. Arrangements are under the direction of the Blackmer Funeral Home of Grangeville.