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F. Wayne Calderwood (1917-2009)


Posted By: Ames Tribune
Date: 9/27/2009 at 10:11:04

THE AMES TRIBUNE, Ames, Story County, Iowa, Wednesday, September 23, 2009.

Mr. F. Wayne Calderwood, a ceramic engineer, whose association with the Ames Laboratories at Iowa State University lasted from World War II until the end of the Gulf War, died Aug. 25, 2009, at Northcrest Retirement Home in Ames, Iowa. He was 92 years old.

Mr. Calderwood was a longtime member of the Collegiate Presbyterian Church and the Ames Kiwanis Club. Throughout his life he enjoyed stamp collecting, high school and college sports, gardening, and solving puzzles of all kinds.

There will be a graveside committal service for Mr. Calderwood at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 26, at Ames Municipal Cemetery. Following the graveside service, the family welcomes friends of Mr. Calderwood to join them for a light luncheon at 11:30 a.m. at Collegiate Presbyterian Church.

Wayne was the son of Seth Wayne Calderwood, a farmer, and Hattie Mae Macumber, a school teacher. He was born Jan. 28, 1917, on a farm near Buck Grove in western Iowa. He attended grade school in Denison and Westside, Iowa and graduated as valedictorian of his class from Arcadia, Iowa High School in 1934.

After high school he worked in the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) as a laborer, an engineer’s orderly and the leader of a surveying crew at CCC camps located in Boone, Iowa and Red Oak, Iowa, respectively.

In 1938, Wayne enrolled at Iowa State College, working his way through school setting pins at the Memorial Union bowling alley and doing hourly work in the Ceramics Laboratory for 35 cents an hour. In 1942, at the urging of another student, he was interviewed by Dr. Frank Spedding, head of the Physical Chemistry Department. He told Dr. Spedding about his Naval Reserve status pending graduation and was impressed when Dr. Spedding said, “You can do more for the war effort here than as an officer in the Navy.” He was put to work making ceramic shields for uranium castings and before long had three men working for him. However, he couldn’t tell his family and friends about the nature of his work until after the bombing of Hiroshima in 1945.

On May 20, 1945, he married Bonnie Jane Gregg at the Afton, Iowa Methodist Church. Bonnie had been a high school teacher in Mt. Ayr, Iowa.

Wayne graduated in 1946 with a B.S. degree in ceramic engineering and went to work for General Electric. At the time it was GE’s policy to move employees around, so he worked in Schenectady, N.Y.; Pittsfield, Mass.; and at the Hotpoint Division in Chicago.

In 1949, he returned to Ames and began working at Iowa State for Dr. Harley Wilhelm. He received an M.S. degree in ceramic engineering in 1957. Later in his career he worked in the Material- Science Department doing evaluations of rare earth compounds. He officially retired Aug. 31, 1985, but continued part time as an editor and returned to work full time during the Gulf War. All together, his service at Iowa State lasted for nearly 50 years.

Wayne is survived by two sisters, Mrs. Dorothy Zednichek, of Marshalltown, and Mrs. Bethyl Plendl, of Hinton; a brother, David Lloyd Calderwood, of Beaumont, Texas; three sons, David, Gregg and Philip; four grandchildren; and a great-grandson.

Mr. Calderwood was preceded in death by his wife of 62 years, Bonnie, in 2007, as well as his father, who died in 1938, and his mother, who died in 1979. He was also preceded in death by a sister, Ada Phillips, of Perry, Iowa.

Adams Funeral Home and Cremation Service assisted the family with the arrangements.


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