Dr. Wayne Denton, Jr. peacefully passed away in Lafayette with his loving wife and family at his side on March 11, 2020. He was a member of St. Pius Church in Lafayette and loved to hear the choir at the 5 pm mass. His final wishes included having his remains transported to Greenwood Mississippi for a family graveside Christian burial alongside his parents.
Survivors include his beloved wife of 28 years, Linda Rogers Birch Denton, his son Wayne (Dwayne) Denton III and his spouse Tara; his daughter Mary Stephanie Denton and her companion Mike Meaux; his stepdaughter Rachelle Adrianne Birch; and his grandchildren David Corey Hastings and his spouse Angie; Victoria Ray Denton Pierce and her spouse Joshua Pierce; Christina Marie Denton Ganier and her spouse Mike Ganier; Elizabeth Wayne Denton and her fiancé Nate Martinez; and 4 great grandchildren Adele Kathryn Hastings, Michael Evertt Pierce, Matthew Lavert Pierce, and Christian Michael Ganier. He was preceded in death by his loving parents Wayne L. Denton Sr. and Edna Naaman Denton of Greenwood, Mississippi.
Wayne was born on November 15, 1943 and attended Greenwood Public High School. He graduated from Delta State University with a bachelor’s degree and from Oklahoma State University with his doctorate degree in biochemistry.
He moved to Lafayette in 1970 and began his career teaching and performing research at the University of Southwestern Louisiana, now the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Wayne was quickly moved into Research Administration and was charged with the task of working with faculty and the funding agencies in Washington D.C. to increase external research funding to the University. He is credited as the major player in working with the Louisiana Congressional Delegation, especially Senators John Breaux and J. Bennett Johnson, to bring two federal agency laboratories, the National Wetlands Research Center and the Estuarine Habits and Coastal Fisheries Research Center, to the University Research Park. Wayne advanced to be named the University’s Vice President for Research and remained as Vice President until he chose to resign to become Director of the University Research Park. He remained in this capacity until his retirement from the University in 2010.
Wayne was selected as a member of the Rotary International Group Study Exchange Team to Australia and later joined the Lafayette Rotary Club where he served in many capacities including President and Chairman of the Board. He was appointed to the Enterprise Center of Louisiana Board and to the Board of the Lafayette Economic Development Authority (LEDA) where he also served as Chairman of the Board during the development of the Louisiana Immersive Technologies Enterprise (LITE). His many years of service also included: Athletics Self Study Steering Committee Chairman, Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium (LUMCON) Executive Board, Louisiana Stimulus for Excellence in Research Chairman, Emergency Medical Service Advisory Board Chairman, Louisiana Arthritis Foundation Board of Governors, and Fund Drive Chairman for the American Heart Association and the Leukemia/Lymphoma Society.
Before passing, he wanted to acknowledge former University President Dr. Ray Authement and his wife Barbara, and Mrs. Loretta Tauzin for their tremendous support and friendship during both his tenure at the University and his retirement. He also wished to acknowledge his long-time friendship with Raymond Cordova and the “Rat Pack”.
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