WILMINGTON — Wayne Arvin McDougald, 89, departed this earthly realm Thursday, March 11, 2021. Born Sept. 9, 1931, Wayne brought a positive and powerful force for good into our world and will never be forgotten.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Sarah; parents, Dellie Sr. and Effie Jane McDougald; and brothers, Dellie Jr. McDougald, Edward McDougald and David McDougald.
Wayne is survived by a huge, loving family. His daughters are Connie Williams of Thomasville and Donna Bradley (Roger) of Wilmington. His surviving siblings are Effie Jane McDougald of Wilmington, Roma Martin of Gulfport, Mississippi, LeRoy McDougald (Jean) of Wilmington and Katy Shultz (Christopher) of the Outer Banks. His grandchildren are Jade Creasman (Cameron) of Wilmington, Hunter Lackovic, USAF, (Amanda) of Baltimore, Maryland, and Forrest Lackovic, USAF, (Kendall) of Baltimore, Maryland. His stepchildren are Michael and Denise Coston. He also leaves behind so many great friends and colleagues too numerous to name.
Wayne served in the U.S. Navy as petty officer third class mechanic on the USS Forrestal supercarrier until an accident during takeoff claimed both of his legs. He told us as he lay on the stretcher waiting to be flown to the hospital he knew his career with the U.S. Navy had just ended and wondered what he would do next. He said that’s when he remembered how much he loved a drafting class he took while still in high school, and with that thought, he rested easy and got on with the business of recovery.
Being an independent spirit, Wayne hung out his shingle soon after returning to his parent’s home, where they created his first working office and began his new career drawing up beautiful house plans for people in the community with many of them being first-time homebuilders. He has left his mark of excellence behind in each and every property he designed throughout Wilmington and the state of North Carolina.
He retired late in life due to the demand for his services. His customers loved him. His family fondly remembers Wayne as the adorable clown because he made it his mission to bring the laughter and merriment to every occasion with so much love you could not resist joining in. He was the family’s quintessential Santa Claus and well-known for mailing stacks of Christmas cards to everyone he knew every year. He also made certain that every single member of his family and close friends always had a gift to open under his Christmas tree. Never someone to be hindered by much, Wayne dove right into major building activities and designed and constructed huge projects like building furniture and outdoor decks.
He was a longstanding member of St. Matthew’s Evangelical Lutheran Church, and, throughout the years, was a constant and loyal parishioner and attendant every Sunday. Throughout his life, Wayne inspired greatness, especially after losing his legs. He lived his life as a double amputee to the fullest and with purpose. He always made a plan and proved that no matter how much you think you might not be capable, there was always a reason to keep trying and to continue to strive.
He had persevered to reinvent himself by pursuing a different path for personal fulfillment and challenge with the fortitude of someone that never doubted for one second he was worthy and necessary. He let everyone know that with love and Jesus everything was possible. That bravery and the people he loved stand as a testament that no matter what life throws at you, it is still worth every second to live every day with gratitude and a whole lot of laughter. We will miss him.
“He left behind small traces of his time on Earth, visible only to those who know where to look.” – Pan’s Labyrinth.
A graveside service will be held at 2 p.m., Thursday, March 18, at Greenlawn Memorial Park, 1311 Shipyard Blvd., Wilmington.
In lieu of flowers, please consider contributing to your local Disabled American Veterans organization.