Obituary of John F. Wayne
John Francis Wayne, age 65, of Egg Harbor Township, NJ, passed away suddenly in Albuquerque, NM on February 26, 2020. He was born March 30, 1954 in Manhasset, NY, lived briefly in Riverhead, NY, and was raised in Stony Brook, NY. As an adult, he resided in Florence, Kentucky; Ocean City, NJ; Dover, Delaware; and Egg Harbor Township.
He graduated in 1976 from Dowling College with a degree in Business Administration, and a minor in Marine Biology. John grew up around racing and learned the racing game from his stepfather Cliff McCartney, who worked for New York Racing Association (NYRA) for 50 years. From 1970 – 1976, John worked part-time for NYRA. He was hired as a TRPB (Thoroughbred Racing Protective Bureau) detective in 1976, and in 1978 became a TRPB agent and was Lead Investigator at some of the top tracks around the nation, including Santa Anita, Churchill Downs, Del Mar, Keeneland, and race tracks in Winnipeg and Nova Scotia, Canada for a total of 28 tracks. He was assigned to head Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Racing Circuit security at Churchill Downs. He became Agent in Charge/Director at Santa Anita Race Track in California. After 14 years with the TRPB, John spent 9 years (1990-1999) as Assistant General Manager and Director of Operations at Atlantic City Race Course. In 1999, John was appointed Executive Director of the Thoroughbred Racing and Harness Racing Commissions for the State of Delaware by Governor Tom Carper. When the commissions split, he remained Executive Director of Thoroughbred Racing until the date of his death. He had a phenomenal knowledge of racing and was known for his integrity. He died doing what he loved at a meeting of Organization of Racing Investigators International. He received accolades from FBI Director William Webster for assisting in the conviction of 7 persons in a federal racketeering case and in 2003 was the Len Foote Award winner from Executive Directors in the Horse Racing Industry.
John’s hobbies included photography (many of his pictures were accepted for GPS navigational sites), gardening, and his special bird feeding sanctuary in his backyard. He often said if he ever retired, his second job could be shopping (which made us all groan). He was kind; he was gentle; he was our rock. He told the best jokes. He was the best grandpa anyone could have had.
He leaves to cherish his memory: his wife of many years Dierdre (Seymour) Wayne; ex-wife Rhonda (Harrison) Wayne; daughter Daphne Walters (Thomas); stepsister Tara Wellbrock (Richard); stepchildren Bryant Amper, Gemma Seymour, and Anita Amper; grandchild Phoenix Walters; stepgrandchildren Marcus Prats, Tatiana Prats, Madeleine Amper, and Esther Seiferheld-Amper; nieces Hannah and Grace Wellbrock and nephew Lucas Wellbrock; cousins Frank Laurita (Ellen) and Christopher Laurita (Kristina); other extended family members, and a host of friends.
John was preceded in death by his father John Wayne, his stepfather Clifford McCartney, and his mother Edna Frances (Laurita) (Wanye) McCartney (Fran).
A viewing will be held on Friday, March 6th from 10-12 am, at the George H. Wimberg Funeral Home, 1707 New Rd., Linwood, NJ, with a service beginning at 12 noon. Burial to follow at the Laurel Memorial Park Cemetery in Egg Harbor Township, NJ
Memorial contributions may be given to the American Cancer Society, the American Heart Association, the National Multiple Sclerosis Society (Delaware Chapter) or the Jockey’s Health and Welfare Fund ATTN: Robert Colton, Delaware Park, 777 Delaware Park Blvd., Wilmington, DE 19804To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of John Wayne, please visit Tribute Store