Dr. K. Wayne Smith

September 15, 1938October 13, 2020

K. Wayne Smith (September 15, 1938 - October 13, 2020)

It is with a deep sadness that we inform the community of the passing of husband, father and friend Dr. K. Wayne Smith, a native of Newton, NC. Earlier this year, Wayne was diagnosed with cancer and in recent weeks, his illness had progressed significantly. Born in Catawba County to Hazel Smith on September 15, 1938, he is survived by his wife of nearly 62 years, Audrey, and their son, Stuart. He also leaves behind his sister Anne Hoyle, brother-in-law Steve Hoyle, nephew Jim Hipp, and niece Kimberly Hipp, as well as numerous cousins and friends. Wayne's entire life has been defined by his hometown of Newton -- where he spent virtually the first twenty years of his life trying to get out of, and the next forty years trying to get back to -- and by Wake Forest University. Wayne came to Wake Forest as a first-generation college student and graduated summa cum laude with a degree in political science. Wayne went on from Wake Forest College to Princeton University on both a Woodrow Wilson fellowship and a John Danforth scholarship. From the humblest of beginnings, Wayne's career has spanned teaching in higher education, working in national security at the highest levels of the federal government, as well as key positions in the business world. Wayne taught at both the United States Military Academy, in his post-Princeton years, and at Wake Forest University, after retirement from corporate America. He worked both in the Pentagon and in the White House, where he reported directly to the National Security Director Henry Kissinger. From government, Wayne transitioned into the business world, serving as managing partner at Coopers & Lybrand (now PWC), and culminating in CEO roles at both World Book Encyclopedia and OCLC (Online Computer Library Center). Wayne is the consummate Demon Deacon. Wayne was elected to Wake Forest University’s board of trustees in 1991 and named a Life Trustee in 2010. He served as chair of the board from 2007 to 2009 and chair of the Presidential Search Committee in 2005. He received Wake Forest’s Distinguished Alumni Award in 1973 and the Medallion of Merit, the University’s highest award for service, in 2011. The Smith family has endowed a scholarship -- the Trinity Scholarship from K. Wayne Smith and Family -- for academically-gifted, but financially resource-constrained students in the UNIFOUR counties in western NC. The four pillars of Wayne's life, by his own admission, are his family, Wake Forest University, the Boston Red Sox, and his farm in his hometown of Newton. There will be a private graveside service to be followed at a later time with a service on the Wake Forest University campus. The family suggests, in lieu of flowers, memorial gifts or donations may be made to The Trinity Scholarship by K. Wayne Smith and Family c/o Wake Forest University, P. O. 7227, Winston Salem, NC 27109.


  • Trinity Scholarship by K. Wayne Smith and Family c/o Wake Forest University


No public services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.


Dr. K. Wayne Smith

have a memory or condolence to add?

Rick Schwieterman

October 22, 2020

My thoughts and prayers are with Audrey and Stuart and my memories Of K Wayne are many during our time at OCLC and occasional visit at Walnut Hill Farm. A wonderful professional, patriot with endless humor. God Bless. Rick and Beverly

Peggy Miller

October 16, 2020

Dear Audrey & Stuart,

I just learned of Wayne’s passing and want to express my sincere condolences to both of you.

I will never forget the years I worked with him at OCLC. He was a force of nature who will be remembered for his contributions there and at so many other companies and institutions.

I will keep both of you in my prayers and hope all of the wonderful memories you made with him will bring you comfort and peace.

Take care of each other.


Peggy Miller


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