Nov. 9, 1934 – Oct. 27, 2019
Wayne Richard Shong, of White Sulphur Springs, Montana and formerly of Augusta and Eau Claire, Wisconsin passed away just shy of his 85th birthday, on Sunday, October 27, 2019 in Bozeman, Montana.
Wayne, the youngest son of W. Edgar and Fern Dickinsen Shong was born November 9, 1934 on the Shong family farm, Town of Otter Creek, Augusta, Wisconsin. He graduated May 22, 1952 from Augusta High School where he excelled in athletics. He briefly attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison on a football scholarship.
He enlisted in the U.S. Army on June 2, 1955. He was stationed at Fort Campbell, KY; graduating on August 18, 1956 from the 11th Airborne Division Angels. He served as a Military Policeman in Munich and Augsburg, Germany with the 127th Airborne Engineer Battalion. He went TDY (temporary duty) to play football overseas. Wayne was honorably discharged from active duty on May 11, 1957 and continued to serve in the reserves until honorably discharged on May 31, 1963.
Wayne began dating Rebecca R. Rugotzke on August 3, 1957, her 18th birthday. They were married on December 28, 1958 at Grace Lutheran Church in Augusta, WI. Wayne was employed as a power company lineman by Northern States Power Company in Augusta, WI and Mondovi, WI. On August 24, 1966 Wayne was involved in an electrical accident when he was injured by 7200 volts of electricity. As a result, he suffered an amputation of his left arm.
Shortly after his injury, Wayne became the John Deere Industrial Dealer as manager of Northwest Equipment Inc., of Eau Claire, WI. He single-handedly saved the business. He purchased a new site and constructed a building with the approval of his partners. His success was measured by his sheer determination and hard work. Due to the significant size of the territory that he covered, he earned his IFR pilot rating. He was a natural pilot in the cockpit of his twin engine Piper Seneca airplane, logging over 500 hours annually. Flying customers to the factory in Iowa and proving grounds in Arizona and Iowa as well as late night flights to pick up parts were part of his routine. He believed in providing excellent service to his customers. Wayne held this position for 25 years until the sale of the business in 1990. Following the sale of the business, Wayne joined his wife at their ranch in Meagher County, MT.
Returning to agriculture and the love of the land and animals brought him back to his roots. He raised natural Black Angus beef, chickens, and turkeys. He bred and raised four generations of German Wired Hair Pointers, his favorite breed of dog. He delighted in lovingly taking care of all of the animals, especially his dogs.
Wayne will be remembered as a devoted husband and favorite uncle; a fierce athletic competitor; a skillful IFR multi-engine rated pilot, and an honest hard-working businessman and incredibly loyal friend. He enjoyed meeting and visiting with people. His hobbies included hunting, especially pheasants and elk; fishing, riding horseback, playing cribbage and pinochle.
Wayne is survived by one brother, Kenneth (Joan) Shong, Marshfield, WI, and his wife’s siblings: Thomas (Barbara) Rugotzke of Eau Claire, WI; sister-in-law Martha Rugotzke of Augusta, WI; and Mary Jane (Jack) Krause, of Eau Claire, WI. Nieces and nephews: Glenn (Joy) Shong, Linda (Bill) Stelzer, Tami (Jeff) McLaughlin, Fay Shong (J. Tracy Mehr), Kendra (Brad) Haessly, Scott Rugotzke, Leta Rugotzke, Kelly Ann Rugotzke, Kylee (Kyle) Staebell, Kari (Ryan) Whalen, and Dr. John (Sarah) Rugotzke; also 16 grandnieces and grandnephews.
Wayne was preceded in death by his wife of almost 58 years, Rebecca; parents, Edgar and Fern; and two brothers, Dean Shong, Keith Shong; sister-in-law Mavis Shong Thode; and brother-in-law David Rugotzke.
Wayne was proud to be from Wisconsin, but his heart found a home in Montana. He was loved by people from both places so there will be two services in his honor:
White Sulphur Springs, Montana: A visitation will be held from 12:30 pm to 1:30 pm, Saturday, November 2, 2019, at The Yoked Parish of First Presbyterian and American Lutheran Churches, 411 E. Jefferson Street in White Sulphur Springs. A funeral service will follow the visitation at 2:00 pm, Saturday, November 2nd at the church. A reception will follow the service in the fellowship hall of the church.
Augusta, Wisconsin: A visitation will take place from 9:00 am to 11:00 am, Tuesday, November 5, 2019, at the Grace Lutheran Church, 815 Hudson Street, Augusta, WI. A funeral service will follow the visitation at 11:00 a.m. at the church, with Rev. Jonathan A. Wessel, officiating. Interment, with full military honors, will follow the service at the West Lawn Cemetery, Augusta, WI, where Wayne will be laid to rest next to his wife Rebecca. A luncheon will follow.
Wayne has requested in lieu of flowers that memorials would be appreciated and designated to any of the following:
American Lutheran Church, 411 Jefferson Street, White Sulphur Springs, MT 59645
White Sulphur Springs Volunteer Fire Department, White Sulphur Springs, MT 59645 Mountainview Medical Center, 16 W Main Street, White Sulphur Springs, MT 59645