On the afternoon of May 12, Wayne left us to ride his Harley forever. Born to Darlene and Lee on August 1, 1951, in Spokane, Washington, Wayne William Lessig loved his wife Twyla, his daughter Krystal, the home on the forks of Muddy Creek, and the open road, preferably astride his beloved Harley.
Wayne grew up in and around Spokane with his two lifelong buddies Barry Homes and cousin Terry (Smoke) Lessig, spending summers at the cabin on Loon Lake and tearing around the hills on dirt bikes. Smoke recalls that it was just about as great a childhood as you could imagine for young teenage boys, with a motor boat, water skis, and as much gas as they could burn.
Wayne graduated from Mead High School’s class of 1969 and immediately the three amigos set off on two dirt bikes headed to California. A photo album records the trip and adventures along the way. Wayne then enlisted in the United States Coast Guard, a service he was proud of, with an honorable discharge in 1975 after five years. Wayne married Shonna Stearns, adopting Shonna’s son James and later having Krystal, Wayne’s pride and joy. Wayne and Shonna travelled throughout Washington for work; Wayne always knew that supporting a family meant working and he was never without a job. He worked for Safeway, Alcoa Aluminum, Windoors, a short stint as a farmer with Smoke, and also learned the roofing trade, which he was always able to fall back on. From Kalispell, Montana, Wayne heard about work in the coal mines and power plant construction at Colstrip. That was to be his lifework for the next 33 years, retiring as a lead blaster at the Rosebud Mine in July of 2010. A photo Twyla took as he headed off to his last shift captures his joyful grin at the prospect of retirement.
Twyla and Wayne met at the Rosebud mine in early 1991 and a love was sparked that lasted for almost 30 years. They were formally married at the homeplace on Muddy Creek on October 30, 2009. Twyla became his travelling partner to adventures to Sturgis, Priest Lake, and the West Coast getting close to whales, as well as many other trips – Wayne even talking Twyla into buying her own Harley. Wayne never lost his wanderlust for travel and him, Barry and Smoke took many road trips throughout the years. Wayne dearly loved golf and he and Barry travelled during the summer to golf courses throughout the west and southwest. Wayne and Twyla loved to play pool and enjoyed their friendship with the men and women of pool league.
Wayne is survived by his father, Lee, in Spokane, son James, daughter, Krystal (Chad), Brittany and Abby (Granddaughters) in Park City and his wife, Twyla and step-daughter Ryhal at their home on Muddy Creek. He was preceded in death by his son, Daniel, his mother, Darlene, and brother, Gary. Twyla knew Wayne treasured his lifelong brotherhood with Barry and Smoke as well as his local buddies Dick Hayes, Brian Rath, Charlie Palmer, Greg Hein, Elliot Fjell, and Ty Morin. Apologies to friends not mentioned.
Wayne survived cancer five years ago and health was important to him, continuing a lifelong habit of jogging. Friends were always important, and Wayne cared truly about those friendships. Kind and generous to all, he knew how lucky he was to find Twyla and to live in such a beautiful place. We know he was aware of the pain and sorrow his passing would bring, but although he beat cancer, depression was a foe that overcame him. He was very concerned about Covid-19 and not being able to “hit the road” to clear his mind or even to visit his father weighed on him. We wish him peace as he rides on.
Visitation will be held on Saturday May 16th from 1 to 6 pm at Stevenson and Son’s Funeral Home in Forsyth. Condolences can be sent to the family by visiting stevensonandsons.com.