Wayne C. Spratford was born on December 21, 1952, in South Amboy, NJ. He was the only son to Arthur Spratford, a steel mill worker, and his wife, Ida, a seamstress. After graduating from Woodbridge High School in 1970, he joined the United States Navy in January 1971. Wayne completed training and additional schooling during his time at boot camp in Great Lakes, MI. Later that same year, Wayne was shipped out on the Schofield DEG3, a small frigate, as an Operations Specialist and entered the waters off Vietnam.
After serving his country for four years, Wayne returned to the States and met his soulmate, Adrienne (Cutler). They began dating and eventually married on May 21, 1978. Wayne continued his education at Rutgers College of Engineering, graduating in May 1980 with a degree in Electrical Engineering. Wayne worked for several corporations until he found his niche with the government as a contractor with the U.S. Army Department of Defense.
In 2008, Wayne discovered he had Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, a form of blood cancer that has been linked to Agent Orange exposure during the time he served in Vietnam. He received chemo and radiation therapy while still continuing to work. Wayne was eventually declared in remission and continued his work as a contractor with the government while enjoying his free time with family.
On December 30, 2020, Wayne retired from the U.S. Army DOD only to find out the next day that he had contracted COVID-19. A few short months later, in April 2021, he had an MRI on his bladder, and the doctor accidentally discovered a mass on his lung. Additional testing confirmed that his cancer resurfaced in the form of lung cancer. Chemo and radiation therapy followed a partial removal of his lung in May 2021. Unfortunately, after a few months of remission, Wayne would learn in May 2022 that his lung cancer had come back with a vengeance. He continued with daily chemotherapy in pill form and regular infusion therapy until the end of August 2023, when it was discovered that the cancer had spread to his brain.
Wayne loved to go to Walt Disney World, which he enjoyed one last time in May 2023 to celebrate his 45th wedding anniversary. His favorite pastimes included looking at the stars, tracking the International Space Station, watching his grandsons play sports, listening to music, working on his computers, Major League Baseball, gardening, bowling, ballroom dancing, drinking craft beer, and eating. Wayne and Adrienne have three beautiful daughters, Nichole Opsasnick (Eugene Opsasnick), Michelle Kane (Adam Kane), and Victoria Spratford. He was a loving Pop Pop to two wonderful grandsons, Eugene and Henry Opsasnick. He also enjoyed time with his many furbabies. Wayne had a wonderful, fulfilling life until his passing on September 15, 2023.
Wayne dreamed of going to space someday and loved Star Trek. Being aboard the Enterprise Memorial Flight is the best way to honor his memory and to fulfill his lifelong dream of space exploration. With love, to Infinity and Beyond…