Wayne P. Pferdehirt

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MIDDLETON–Wayne P. Pferdehirt, age 67, of Middleton, passed away unexpectedly in Kings Canyon National Park CA on Aug. 26, 2019 during his life-long dream of hiking the John Muir Trail. Born on Aug. 3, 1952, in Pittsburgh, PA, he was the son of Harry “Bud” Pferdehirt and Anna Mae (Zimmer) Pferdehirt. He married his sweetheart, Diane H. Luchies, on April 26, 2014 in Holland, MI. 

Wayne, a husband, father, son, brother and World’s Best Grandpap, could always be counted on for an ideal birthday card, a practical joke (costumes included!), or an adventure (just add espresso). Wayne was a man of deep faith, and gladly offered his commitment, guitar, and harmonica to Reba Place Church (Evanston, IL), Faith Community Bible Church and Blackhawk Church. Wayne’s enthusiasm for life and love of adventure drew people to him. His faith in God defined every moment of his life, and he loved to worship God with fellow believers. Wayne was a talented musician and served for many years on praise teams and a Prison Ministry team. He played guitar, congas, djembe, and was particularly adept on the harmonica. He ran marathons at an enviable pace, including Boston, New York and Chicago. Wayne loved hiking and backpacking, driving his motorcycle, and spending time with his wife and family. 

Wayne received a B.S. in Civil Engineering from Carnegie-Mellon University in 1974 and an M.S. in Urban & Regional Planning from Northwestern University in 1975. He served as a Water Resources Engineer at the Army Corp of Engineers and as an Environmental Scientist at Argonne National Laboratory. He was a consulting engineer working on solid waste in the Chicago area. In 1991, Wayne was recruited to the University of Wisconsin-Madison/UW-Extension to help establish the UW Solid & Hazardous Waste Education Center. In 1998, Wayne became director of the online graduate engineering programs at UW-Madison. He directed the Master of Engineering Management program starting in 1998, one of the nation’s top-ranked online graduate degree programs. Wayne also recently directed the Master of Engineering in Engineering Data Analytics program. In 2007, Wayne helped to launch the Badger Pals fund to support children receiving treatment at UW-Madison’s American Family Children’s Hospital by connecting them with fun activities and athletic event opportunities. Wayne was also a proud good neighbor of Middleton serving on the Middleton Plan Commission. Wayne will always be remembered for his contagious enthusiasm as a Badger, his passion to help students advance in their careers, his deep and abiding faith in God, and his love for his family.

Wayne is survived by his wife, Diane Pferdehirt, daughters Beth (Casey) Caster, Becky Pferdehirt (Alexandre Blardone), and Ruth Pferdehirt (Michael Holmes Goldsamt), and their mother, Julia Pferdehirt, granddaughters Maxime Blardone, and Blair and Michael Caster, father Harry “Bud” Pferdehirt, and siblings Ronald (Judy) Pferdehirt, Diane (George) Abrahim, and Deborah (David) Trowbridge, among many cherished nieces, nephews and sisters- in law and brothers-in-law.

Wayne was preceded in death by his beloved brother Gary Pferdehirt and his mother Anna Mae Pferdehirt. 

Funeral services will be held at Blackhawk Church, 9620 Brader Way, Madison WI 53562, on September 5, 2019 at 11 a.m. A visitation will be held at the Cress Center, 6021 University Avenue, Madison, on September 4, 2019 from 5-7 p.m. and on Thursday, at church, one hour prior to service. A light lunch will follow in the church atrium.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Blackhawk Church Reach Fund, 9620 Brader Way, Middleton WI 53562; American Family Children’s Hospital-Badger Pals Fund, UW Foundation, US Bank Lockbox 78807, Milwaukee WI 53278-0807; or the The John Muir Trail Foundation at Earth Island, c/o Earth Island Institute, 2120 Avy Avenue, PO Box 7348, Menlo Park CA 94025.

Please share your memories at cressfuneralservice.com.

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