He started school at Walnut Creek Elementary School at the age of five. Wayne graduated from Jefferson Township High School in 1943. Though his parents did not attend high school, they encouraged all of their children to attend college. Like his older brothers and sisters, Wayne attended Purdue University. He enrolled in the fall of 1947, and he graduated in June of 1951 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Agriculture.
Wayne returned to the family farm near Upland, Indiana and married his college sweetheart, Helen Hardin, in November of 1953. In March of 1954, Wayne entered military service and trained at Camp Chaffee, Arkansas and Fort Holibird, Baltimore, Maryland. For the remainder of his military career, he served in Washington D.C. as a special agent in the Counter Intelligence Corps. - See more at: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/indystar/obituary.aspx?n=Wayne-Townsend&pid=175229327#sthash.1rSnJq44.dpuf
Wayne and Helen returned to the family farm near Upland, Indiana in March of 1956. They have five children, Jay (born in 1954), Mark (born in 1955), Lisa (born in 1958), Steve (born in 1960), and Alan (born in 1963). In 1965, Wayne and Helen purchased a farm in neighboring Blackford County, Indiana, and the family moved there the following year.
Wayne was extremely proud of his children. All five graduated from Blackford High School. And all five also graduated from Purdue University.
Wayne enjoyed politics. In 1958, at the age of 32, Wayne was elected to the Indiana House of Representatives from Grant County and Blackford County. Wayne served six years in the House of Representatives. In 1970, he was elected to the Indiana State Senate and served 16 years, retiring from the legislature in 1986. During his 22 years in the legislature, Wayne served either on the House Ways and Means Committee or the Senate Finance Committee.
In 1984, Wayne was the Democratic nominee for Governor in the State of Indiana. He lost narrowly to Robert Orr even though the Republican candidate for President, Ronald Reagan, carried Indiana by a wide margin.
Wayne loved Purdue University. He attended his first football game at Ross Ade Stadium in 1933. He and Helen were regulars at the Purdue Christmas Show. And he often invited the Purdue Glee Club to perform at his Hartford City home for family and friends. Following his years of legislative service, Wayne served on the Board of Trustees of Purdue University for 15 years. He forged an outstanding working relationship with then President of Purdue University, Steven C. Beering. When President Beering retired, Wayne served on the search committee that recommended hiring Martin C. Jischke as President Beering's successor.
Wayne also served as a Director of the Purdue Research Foundation, a Trustee of Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana, and a member of the Board of Directors at the Marion National Bank. His other memberships include Lifetime Member of the Purdue Alumni Association, a 35 year member of the John Purdue Club, and 50 year member of the First Friends Church of Marion (where he also served as trustee).
Wayne was named a Sagamore of the Wabash by four different Governors, Governor Matt Welsh, Governor Evan Bayh, Governor Joe Kernan, and Governor Mike Pence. Wayne was recognized as a Master Farmer by Indiana Prairie Farmer, Distinguished Purdue Ag Alumnus by the College of Agriculture, and with a Certificate of Distinction by the Purdue Ag Alumni Association. In 2014, Wayne was honored with the Order of the Griffin, the highest honor bestowed by Purdue University, by President Mitch Daniels.
Wayne is survived by Helen, his wife of 61 years. Wayne also is survived by: his son Jay (his wife Rebecca and their children Richard, James, Jonathan, Emerson, and Oliver); his son Mark (his children Katherine (married to Andy Glover), Hanna, and Ben); his daughter Lisa McHone (her husband Paul and their children Jenni (married to John Garrett), Ann, Katie, Chris, and Liz); his son Steve (his wife Beth and their children Sarah and Jacob); and his son Alan (his wife Ruth Ann and their children Aja, Jay, and Jack). Wayne also is survived by many loving nieces and nephews. Wayne was preceded in death by his parents (Jay and Blanche) and his siblings (Martha, James, George, Vida, and Mary)