Wayne Wolz, local rancher, former NASA engineer, loving father and husband, and friend to many, passed away on Monday, May 22, 2023. A memorial service will be held on Sunday, June 25, 2023, at 2pm, at the Caldwell Methodist church. Family and friends are invited to attend a meal after the service.
Wayne was born in Corpus Christi in 1945 and lived his early years in Houston. Each summer was spent on his grandparents’ farm in Deanville, where he learned all the chores of farm and ranch life at his grandfather’s side. By the age of eight he was already driving the tractor and trucks. When he was in the fourth grade, the family moved to Caldwell where he started working in their “Ben Franklin” store. He formed many deep friendships at school and graduated from Caldwell High in 1963. Over the decades he and his classmates would meet two to three times a year for reunions.
Mr. Wolz attended the University of Houston, graduating with an Industrial Engineering degree, and was hired by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. He was present in Florida for the Apollo 15 rocket launch. He worked in the same building as the Apollo astronauts and knew them all. After his retirement he planned yearly trips for his NASA ACE group to get together and reminisce about their working days during the Apollo moon missions.
In 1968 Wayne married Mary Leigh Sheffield. He was a loving and dedicated father to their two children, Jenness and Ben. He fully enjoyed every minute of being a parent and volunteered in many organizations, investing in his kids and community. He was a Chief of the Indian Princesses and Indian Guides. He was a Scout Master of the Cub Scouts and a baseball coach, too. Mr. Wolz also had a lifelong passion for cars. He rebuilt and loved to drive MGs prior to having children. Wayne and Mary visited many automobile shows over the years. He also taught his son how to work on cars, imparting the skills of being a good handyman and excellent troubleshooter. Ben will miss talking with his dad about ideas on how to fix just about anything.
Upon his early retirement from NASA at the age of 47, he moved his family to the Wolz acreage in Deanville. His children graduated from Caldwell schools, the same as he did. Both are grateful that they built a connection to Burleson County and call it their forever home.
Wayne and Mary formed a business, “Mary’s Patterns,” that kept them very busy for 25 years, traveling to quilt shows across the U.S. and accomplishing the feat of visiting all 50 states.
As a member of the Caldwell Methodist Church, Wayne sang for 35 years in the choir. He belonged to Methodist Men, volunteered at the Christian Care Store, and led the senior group, taking them on day trips each month. He helped establish, and was the first Board President for, the Deanville Heritage Foundation. Wayne enjoyed playing dominos with friends for many years. He was also a competitive bridge player and competed on behalf of Burleson County at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo several times in the 2000s.
Wayne spent his final years ranching, visiting friends over lunch at the Surrey Inn, Pizza Hut, and auction barn, and driving around his beloved family land.
Wayne is preceded in death by sister Karen Zgabay, Mother Isabelle Devlin, and father Lanceer Wolz. He is survived by his wife of 55 years, Mary Wolz, brothers Bill and Bobbie Serafine, daughter and son-in-law, Jenness and Dan Pooley, son and daughter-in-law, Ben and Shelly Wolz, grandkids – Wesley Bivins, Austin Bivins, Andrew Wolz, Travis Wolz, Evelyn Pooley, Abbigale Brysch, and great-grandkids – Sam, Hazel, Colt and Raelynn.
The family will host a burial and memorial lunch in late June. More details will be shared soon on Facebook and around the Caldwell community. In lieu of flowers or gifts, the family requests you would please consider a donation in memory of Wayne Wolz to the foundation he so loved:
Deanville Heritage Foundation “Wayne Wolz Donation” P.O. Box 122 Deanville TX, 77852