Wayne C. Baumgartner, age 64, of Litchfield died suddenly on Thursday, October 29, 2020 while working near Sturgis, SD. A private family memorial service will be held at 1:00 PM on Thursday, November 5, 2020 at First Lutheran Church in Litchfield. A walk through visitation will be held from 5:00 PM until 8:00 PM on Wednesday, November 4th, at Johnson-Hagglund in Litchfield. Interment will be in the Lake Ripley Cemetery.
Wayne Carl Baumgartner, the son of Carl and Sylvia (Sorum) Baumgartner, was born on May 31, 1956 in Litchfield. Wayne grew up in construction and lived in many states until the family moved to Litchfield where he graduated from high school in 1974. On November 22, 1978 he married Mattie Robinson in Manchester, KY. In 1982, Wayne earned his BS in mechanical engineering from NDSU.
Wayne worked for over 40 years for Johnson Brothers Corporation and was well known and respected nation-wide as their equipment manager. For the last five years he worked as safety manager for Meyer Contracting Inc. where his colleagues called him “Safety Wayne”; “the greatest co-worker I’ve ever had” and where he lead the team to complete the highest levels in the CHASE partnership (the standard by which safety in the MN construction industry is measured).
Wayne was the teacher to all who came to help everyone at the drop of a hat; who worked until the job was done and who convinced you that nothing was impossible if you put your mind to it. He could build and fix anything and so many of us learned valuable lessons from him about beauty of hard work, helping others, enjoying life, teamwork, laughing loudly, the love of family and the importance of putting his tools back exactly where you found them. Wayne always had a smile on his face and a twinkle in his eye. His coworkers loved him and his family isn’t sure how they’ll live without him. One friend summed up Wayne well when he noted that: “Wayne and Carl [his dad] always kinda reminded me of John Wayne, except with a bulldozer instead of a horse.”
Wayne had been an active member of the Litchfield Lions; the IUOE Local 49 and First Lutheran Church. He enjoyed time with family and friends; hunting pheasants and deer; fishing; planting a huge garden; spending time with his special buddy Mason; and working on and playing with his construction equipment. He loved nothing more than leading a team of friends and family to finish what seemed like impossible tasks—ensuring that everyone was safe and that we all shared in the work and sense of accomplishment.
He is survived by his wife Mattie Baumgartner of Litchfield; children Joshua Baumgartner of Litchfield and Karissa (Ike) Isakson of Oak Grove, MN; his mother Sylvia Baumgartner of Litchfield; grandchildren Allyson Isakson and Amanda Isakson; Cory Ringwelski; and Mason Baumgartner; and great grandson Guage Ringwelski. He is also survived by his brother Allen Baumgartner of Strasburg, CO and sister Lisa (Aaron) Bonds of Robbinsdale, MN. He was preceded in death by his father Carl Baumgartner.