Wayne A. Rieniets, 92, of Drake, died Monday, July 15, 2013, at an assisted living facility in Minot.
Wayne August Rieniets, was born April 21, 1921, at Amenia, the third of 11 children born to Fred and Ella (Behr) Rieniets. He was raised and educated in the Cass County communities of Amenia, Arthur and Casselton. After his education, he worked for area farmers.
In 1940, he entered the Navy and served his country overseas during World War II. During his four years of service, he finished as captain of a diesel refueling ship in the South Pacific Theater. With a million gallons of fuel on board, he thought a Japanese torpedo attack was a surety.
Wayne was married to Betty Fitzpatrick in 1941 at Cleveland, Ohio. While he was at sea, their daughter, Zondra, was born. She was named from a dream he had. He also had a premonition of her birth on the day she was born and confirmed this the next chance he had to speak to Betty.
After his honorable discharge from the Navy in 1946, he enrolled in a diesel mechanic school in Cleveland, Ohio. They made their home in Akron, Ohio, until 1953, when they moved to Drake, where Wayne began working for his father’s cattle trucking business. He later took over the business and continued trucking cattle and grain until the mid-1980s, making two or three weekly trips to Minneapolis, Duluth, and Sioux City. Logging over three million miles during his career, he claimed “I never missed a load no matter how bad I felt.”
Wayne played just as hard as he worked. Anyone who had the pleasure to spend a Saturday afternoon with him in the lounge was going to have a good time. He was a man of “wine, women, and song,” as he would break out his high tenor regularly.
Following his retirement, he and Betty purchased a lake place at Parshall Bay and fishing walleye became the focus of his time. He made the “whopper board” at Brendle’s a number of times. They were blessed to have many years of wonderful times out at the lake before Betty’s death on July 3, 2008.
Wayne served on the Drake City Council for 30 years and was a member of the David D. Nehrenberg American Legion Post #32 of Drake.
How perfect that a man who had forearms like Popeye, lived the motto: “I yam what I yam!” Whether he was at The Sands playing $500 per hand blackjack in his Oshkosh overalls or pulling over in his brand new Silverado to pick up an aluminum can, Wayne was a man of little pretense.
Wayne was preceded in death by his wife, Betty; his only child, daughter, Zondra Le Isaak; his parents; three brothers, Melvin, Larry and Kenneth; and two sisters, Lois McAllister and Leona Richards.
He is survived by: four grandchildren, Wesley Michael Isaak, Shannon Rae Isaak, Chad Wayne Isaak and Jeffrey Le Isaak; two great-grandchildren, Zachary Le Isaak and Matthew John Isaak; son-in-law, Wesley J. Isaak; brother Alfred Rieniets, Moorhead, Minn.; and four sisters, Eleanor March, Aurora, Colo., Mildred Paulus and Marjorie Beecher, both of Fargo, and Gloria (Reuben) Ulrich, of Sun City West, Ariz.
For over a decade Wayne said, “I never thought I would make it this long.” Last summer Dr. Swenson called him his “Miracle Man.” In December the body began to fade but the mind stayed sharp almost to the end. “Well done, our friend, Not a bad runnot bad at all. You were an original.”
Funeral: Friday, July 19, 2013, at 10:30 a.m. at the Trinity Lutheran Church in Drake.
Burial: Church cemetery.
Arrangements with Bethke-Nelson Funeral Home of Drake.