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Obituary for Wayne Charles Anderson


Wayne Charles Anderson was born to William and Florence (Dykema) Anderson on Nov. 12, 1945 in Oak Park IL. He died peacefully at Gundersen Healthcare on Oct. 27th, 2018. Wayne grew up in Chicago as a loyal White Sox and Bears fan. He enlisted in the United States Army in the summer of 1966, at the height of the Vietnam war, in order to serve his Nation as a member of the Army medical corps. After completing basic and advanced training he deployed to Vietnam, where he served as a combat medic in an Infantry rifle platoon executing ground combat operations. Based upon his stellar performance as a line unit medic, he was later assigned to the 71st Evacuation Hospital in Pleiku, where he served as a surgical medic doing triage and treating the critically wounded. At the 71st Evac, he also volunteered to participate in extremely hazardous helicopter rescue “dustoff” missions to evacuate wounded soldiers directly from the battlefield. He received numerous unit citations and individual awards, to include the prestigious Combat Medic Badge. Wayne returned from Vietnam and married the love of his life, Linda Pilkington, on June 13, 1970, and they spent the subsequent 48 years enjoying a lifelong series of adventures together. Newly married, they moved to Monmouth IL and Durham NC as he completed his education. In 1974, Wayne graduated in one of the very first classes of the recently formed Physician Associate program at Duke University. He was very proud of being a pioneer in this new profession, and went on to practice medicine all over the country in a wide variety of settings. He worked in family and emergency medicine in places as diverse as rural Georgia, far northern Wisconsin, and inner-city Chicago. He branched into the Cardiology field in the late 1980s and remained there for the rest of his career, first at the Duke University Medical Center, and later with the Gundersen Health System and the Wisconsin Heart Institute. Throughout his career, Wayne gave back to his profession by mentoring countless medical students, residents, PAs, nurses, and doctors. He truly loved what he did, and he was exceptionally good at it. Wayne and Linda both enjoyed the outdoors immensely, and sought out opportunities to live on lakes or farms whenever possible. Most memorably, he and Linda lived on an amazing farm north of Holmen, where they enjoyed raising their sons as well as sharing the beautiful setting with family and friends for hayrides, bonfires, paintball wars and riding horses. Wayne considered himself a “gentleman farmer,” and could often be found smoking a cigar while driving an antique tractor through his fields. He put his sons and their friends to work building fences, baling hay, and painting barns, and always found opportunities to impart some hard-won wisdom and advice on this wide array of teenage boys that needed it more than they probably appreciated at the time. Wayne and Linda were blessed with two sons, Chris (Annie) & David (Molly) and a beautiful granddaughter, Cassidy. A testament to their Dad's influence on their lives, both sons elected to follow in his footsteps; Chris as a career Army officer, and David as a Registered Nurse. He is also survived by his sisters Sherry (Bernie) Kooyenga, Pat (Ken) Conger, and brother Bill, as well as numerous nieces and a nephew. He was also dearly loved by his numerous in-laws. In addition to family, Wayne leaves behind a lifetime of friends, colleagues, patients, and others whose lives he touched in some form or fashion. A memorial service will take place on Sat. Nov. 10, 2018 at Coulee Life Church (N5761 County Rd SN, Onalaska, WI 54650) at 11: 00 am. A visitation will be held from 9 am until the time of service. Rev Craig Coe will officiate. In the spring, Wayne will be interred in Arlington National Cemetery in a formal ceremony to honor his military service. We wish to thank the La Crosse fire department, the EMT’s, the Blood Center of Wisconsin , ER personnel and the amazing nurses and staff on the 6th floor of the hospital. Although the outcome was not what we hoped, your actions gave us the days of grace to say good-bye. What a blessing that was. Memorials may be directed to the Blood Center of Wisconsin, Gundersen Hospice and Palliative Care or St. Jude’s Children's Hospital.