Wayne L. Sides, Sr. passed away Dec. 26, 2017, at the age of 79 while a resident at the Goshen Care Center in Torrington, Wyo. It was there that he received the most loving care from a staff of highly trained professionals who also extended the same care to his family. How will we ever thank them?
A Mass of Christian Burial will take place at 10 a.m., Friday, Jan. 5, at Christ the King Catholic Church in Gering with Fr. Mike McDonald as Celebrant. There will be a vigil service at 7 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 4, at Christ the King Catholic Church. Inurnment will be held at a later date in Chadron. There will be no visitation as cremation has taken place in accordance with Wayne’s wishes. Memorials have been established to Christ the King Catholic Church and to the Gering Public Schools Foundation. Online condolences may be made by visiting www.jolliffefuneralhome.com.
Wayne was born a twin March 10, 1938, in Chadron. His sister, LaWayne, accompanied the birth. Their mother, Margaret Fern Sides, was a widow who lost her husband two months before the birth of the twins to a hunting accident. Fern raised the twins for several years with the help of family while completing her education at Chadron High School. She then met and married Tommy Lecher who embraced Wayne and LaWayne as his own. Five siblings soon joined their family.
Tommy was a horse enthusiast and taught his two older sons the skills of training, grooming and trading horses. Wayne and his brother, Bernard, would go to the Pine Ridge Reservation to buy wild horses and herd them home to Chadron. The brothers would then make money selling the horses at the local horse auction after breaking and gentling them.
Wayne graduated high school from the Chadron Assumption Academy in 1957. It was there that he met his future bride and love of his life, Virginia Thoendel. Wayne and Virginia were married at St. Patrick’s Church Nov. 5, 1960, in Chadron. Three beautiful children were born to this union: Sherri, Wayne and Rick.
Wayne graduated from Chadron State College in 1961 and became an industrial arts instructor for Gering Public Schools. He made many wonderful teaching buddies there who were forever planning new adventures with him including hunting, fishing, bowling, poker, student athletics, dances, academics and graduations. Wayne would also help with outside emergencies that would come up on occasion with his students whom he adored.
Wayne went to Colorado State University to receive his master’s degree. He was with Gering Public Schools for 23 years before taking a position as director of business and industry at Western Nebraska Community College. It was there that he was able to help new businesses come into the community and afford training for their employees. His job also offered him the opportunity to help existing businesses in the community to either upgrade or make needed staff improvements. Wayne met and made many lifelong friends while working for the college and with the community.
Wayne was a loving father who, of course, saw to it that his children had horses and could, as he said, “Ride like the wind.” He was involved in every facet of his children’s lives up until the day he no longer had the ability to do so. Wayne blessed his family with many incredible lifelong memories.
Survivors include his wife, Virginia of Scottsbluff; children, Sherri Sides of Scottsbluff, Wayne Sides (Cathy) of Greeley, Colo., and Rick Sides (Sherrie) of Morrill; the blessing of four grandchildren entered Wayne’s life, Scott Sides (MacKinsey) of Mitchell, Sarah Sides (Sawyer) of Torrington, Wyo., Garret Sides of Greeley, Colo., and Wayne Lynn Sides of Laramie, Wyo. Other survivors include his sisters, Janice Magruder (Mitch) of Nevada, Mo., and Susan Gold (Larry) of Council Bluffs, Iowa; and brothers, Steven Lecher (Diane) of Chadron and Curtis Lecher (Mary) of Chadron and Chandler, Ariz. He also received the good fortune of having many wonderful nieces and nephews.
Wayne was preceded in death by his father, Wayne L. Sides; mother, Margaret Fern Sides-Lecher; step-father, Tommy Lecher; twin sister, LaWayne Sides; brother, Bernard Lecher (Harriet); and nephew, Todd Jones.