Wayne Ray Pearse, 70, passed away at home July 25, 2022 with family at his side. Wayne was born July 2, 1952 in Tulsa, Oklahoma to Kathleen Montgomery Pearse and Howard Jay Pearse. In 1968, the family, which includes brothers Rusty and Dan, moved to Broken Arrow, OK where they built a dog kennel which they operated for many years. During that time, they raised and showed Airedale terriers. Along with his work in the kennel, Wayne was the proud companion of two Champions. He continued to make Airedales part of his family into adulthood.
Wayne attended Broken Arrow High School and Oklahoma State University for a year, where he was on the wrestling team before being drafted into the Army. Following his time in the Army, he attended Oklahoma State Technical School to become an electrician. Upon graduation, he went to work at the University of Kansas Memorial Student Union. He became proficient in all the maintenance trades during his 33 years at KU. He advanced in his career to eventually become The Director of Building Services. Despite opportunities to work in the private sector, Wayne chose to devote his talents to the students, staff, faculty and professors of KU.
In 1980, Wayne married Kathy Ebanks of Lawrence. Together they journeyed through 41 years of marriage and enjoyed life with two daughters, Lisa and Shelly, and many pets. Wayne had a lifelong love for fishing, boating, fishing, camping and fishing. He loved cars and hot rods and enjoyed a post-retirement job at O’Reilly. He always said he was proud to have never owned a minivan. He relished outdoor gardening and yardwork. Wayne could fix anything and proudly kept every house in which his family lived in tip-top shape. He pitched on a fastpitch softball team in the Army and played park and rec softball for the Union and on co-ed teams with Kathy for many years. He coached and taught fastpitch for several of Lisa’s teams, and served as president of Lawrence Phenix Fastpitch Association in the early 2000’s. He thoroughly delighted in watching Shelly dance during many years of recitals. The whole family camped and fished together for many years. After the girls were grown, Wayne and Kathy continued to own boats and fish until he could no longer do so. Wayne loved Classic Rock and attended many concerts. He was thrilled to listen to Lisa and Shelly play violin and viola in school orchestras.
Several years after Lisa and Shelly were born, Wayne started attending Mass with Kathy and the girls at St. John the Evangelist and became a member in 1999. He was proud to be a Big Brother for a while. Wayne cared about the well-being of others and helped those who needed it whenever he could. A near-death experience at the age of 19 left him with the certainty that he was going to a truly blessed place.
Wayne is survived by wife Kathy of the home, daughters Lisa (Tyson) Russell, Shelly (Eric) Degenhardt and newborn granddaughter June Degenhardt of Lawrence, brothers Rusty (Sissy) Pearse of Burleson, TX, and Dan (Jeanette) Pearse of Matagorda, TX, and many nieces and nephews. Wayne was outgoing and had so many friends. He valued them all.
The family wishes to extend tremendous thanks to the doctors, nurses, technicians and volunteers at LMH Health Oncology and Radiation. Our utmost gratitude goes out to our Interim Hospice team for the outstanding end-of-life care they provided for Wayne and our family.
Memorial donations can be made to Catch a Break Fund at LMH Health.lmh.org>foundation or may be sent in care of Warren-McElwain Mortuary, 120 W. 13th Street, Lawrence, KS 66044.
Memorial Mass will be held at 10:00 a.m. Saturday, August 6, 2022 at St. John’s Catholic Church in Lawrence. Burial will follow in Mt. Calvary Cemetery in Lawrence. A Rosary will be recited prior to the service at 9:30 a.m. at the church.