ARYGLE – Wayne Wilson of Argyle joined the Lafayette County Board in 1982 and has decided to step down from his duties as of Sept. 1, 2017.
“I have enjoyed the county board very much. I enjoy working with people,” Wilson commented.
Wilson grew up on a farm in Wiota Township. He met his wife Marne, who was from Gratiot, in 1958 and they were married in 1964. They moved to Madison where he worked for the university as a meat cutter and for Memorial Union as a food production manager. Later he worked as a civilian employee of the Army in the fields of personnel and finance. But they felt the need to come back to the area to where their roots were so in 1976 they moved to Wiota and so began Wayne’s career in politics.
“I was always interested in politics and thought I would like to give it a try,” Wayne explained.
Wayne was on the Wiota Township board for 10 years and was fire chief at Wiota for a number of years. Then Lois Fields, a resident of Wiota Township, convinced Wilson to run for a seat on the board.
“She wanted to get some young blood on there. I thought I would give it a try. Now I’m old blood,” Wilson joked.
He was elected to the board in 1982 and in 1986 he was elected as Lafayette County Board chairman for 14 years until 2000.
Wayne has been on almost every committee there is within the county board. He has also been active with the Wisconsin Counties Association (WCA) for most of his tenure on the board, serving on WCA’s board of directors for six years and as its president for one year from 1996-1997. He and Marne traveled all around the United States with the WCA, meeting many people. He spent 21 years on the Wisconsin Mutual Insurance Board and was president of the International Trade Economic Business Council where he was able to travel to Germany and Poland and addressed the Polish parliament, speaking to them about agricultural concerns.
“Politics has been great for me. Met a lot of nice people. I’ve met people from all over the state through Wisconsin counties and other activities,” Wilson said.
Wayne said he attributes all of his participation to Dick McKnight, who was the county board chairman before him and told Wayne to get involved.
Wayne was a member of the Army Reserves for 37 years from 1962 to 1999. In 1991, Wilson was called to active duty during Desert Storm and served five months of that year at Landstuhl Medical Regional Center in Landstuhl, Germany. He discussed the gravity of having the hospital at that military base along side having the hospital in Lafayette County.
“It is imperative to keep the hospital that we have. Without the hospital, we won’t get any growth in this county.”
Wayne and Marne moved to Argyle in 2001 and he was recruited to be the Village of Argyle President. He held that position up until 2015, when he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. Unfortunately, the disease has taken a toll on him and Wayne said it was time to step down.
“I have had a good career and I’m not sorry about being involved. But it gets to a time to quit and my time is now. I could have stayed on until I was 90 or 100.”
One thing he wishes could have been accomplished is the creation of more employment opportunities for people in the county.
“We have good education in the county but don’t have jobs once they are out of high school,” Wayne explained.
Marne expressed that it may be helpful for everyone to serve at least one term on the county board to better understand that answers to problems are not always as simple as they might appear, especially when considering the rules, regulations and mandates that affect the board’s actions.
The Wilson’s will be moving to be closer to their daughter, Lisa and her family, husband, Craig and son, Jack, over in Brookfield in October.
Both Wayne and Marne expressed they will miss the people in Argyle and Lafayette County.
“We are going to miss the people here in Argyle and Lafayette County, but you will have to adjust no matter where you move.”