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Obituaries » Wayne Merle Wilson

Wayne Merle Wilson

March 11, 1928 - May 10, 2019

U.S. Veteran

Service Date: May 20, 2019


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Born in Provo Utah, Wayne lived a life of family, career and love of nature. After graduating high school, Wayne joined the US Marine Corps. Although he missed WWII by months, Wayne became a proficient boxer in the Corp., his passion for the sweet science lasting a lifetime. Honorably discharged after serving his duty, Wayne went to Brigham Young University  to study art and was offered a position at Walt Disney Studios as a professional illustrator. It was at BYU that he met and married the love of his life Kay. While working a summer job at a mental health facility to help support his family while in school, Wayne recognized his true calling. Disgusted by the way mentally ill people were treated in those days, Wayne chose to make a difference. He changed the direction of his education, giving up a job offer as an illustrator with Disney, instead earning a BS in Sociology at BYU and Masters of Social Work at University of Nebraska.

Working for the state of California at Mendocino State Hospital in Ukiah, Wayne was one of the leading developers of modern Drug and Alcohol Abuse rehabilitation programs. He led a significant number of research studies and his work was used in over 20 scientific journal Publications. He lived in Scotland for 6 months while completing a World Health Fellowship Program. Wayne then went on to work for the Federal Government. In one assignment he traveled to many remote islands in the South Pacific to conduct a study on the lack of access to modern medical care for many of the indigenous populations. Following that he worked as a Regional Inspector General, were his job was to investigate fraud and abuse in different government programs and agencies. He reported the results of these investigations to Congress. While working for the National Institute of Mental Health he was invited to the White House to speak give a presentation on his work on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse.

The final leg of Wayne’s career path led him back to California, as a District Manager, Community Care Licensing. In this role Wayne worked to assure that disabled and mentally ill people living in group homes and care facilities were safe from abuse and treated with dignity. Wayne worked well into his eighties before retiring. He then served a term on the Sonoma County Grand Jury and worked in various consulting roles with local government until his death at 91.

His years in Ukiah gave him an appreciation for nature and a love for the Redwood forests of Northern California. His travels in the south pacific inspired his love for tropical fish and exotic reptiles. Wayne also had a love for automobiles, participating in a professional racing classes in his late eighties.

Wayne was a devoted husband to Kay and a loving father, providing a great role model for his three children, Michael, Scott and Melissa. His loss has left a hole in the hearts of his family that cannot be filled. The Funeral Service will be held on Monday May 20th, 11am at Adobe Creek Funeral Home & Cremation Services, 331 Lakeville Street, Petaluma, California. Online condolences at