He is preceded in death by his parents.
He grew up in Solo, MO and graduated Houston High School. Wayne entered the United States Army February 10, 1959 and served as a communication technician until he was honorably discharged on February 9, 1965.
On July 6, 1972 he married the love of his life, Rebecca Guernsey; they soon would have celebrated their 41st anniversary. They had three children; Bill, JoAnn and Dennis.
He is survived by his wife Becky of their home in Mtn. Grove, MO, his children; Bill Willis and wife Nanette of Springfield, MO, JoAnn Cook and husband Doyle of Springfield, MO and Dennis Middleton and wife Amy of Nixa, MO, seven grandchildren, four great-grandchildren and a brother Kenneth Middleton of Hartville, MO.
Shorty was a man of many trades; he worked for Boeing, Sunflower Ordinance, drove an ambulance and was a fireman. He worked for Mid America Dairyman for 28 years, retiring in 1999. Shorty also tilled gardens for 13 years. He loved to work; he would get off from his day job and then would go out and find something to keep him busy. He had a talent for making something out of nothing. And if he couldn’t figure something out, he would sleep on it and come up with a solution the next day.
He was baptized at an early age and attended the Emmanuel Baptist Church in Mtn. Grove, MO.
After retirement Shorty fell in love with fishing. He would go fishing as much as he possibly could. You could also find him at the local coffee shop every morning and evening catching up with his buddies seeing who could tell the biggest and best story. Shorty had a way of never meeting a stranger always striking up a conversation with any one he would meet.
Shorty was a very kind and generous man; he would do anything for anyone. He was a wonderful husband, father, grandfather and a true friend to many. He will be greatly missed by all who knew and loved him.