Wayne Richard Pompeo
February 8, 1931 – April 30, 2020
Wayne Richard Pompeo passed away on April 30, 2020 at the age of 89, in Orange, CA, after a brief illness following a fall. Wayne was born in Dawson, New Mexico on February 8, 1931 to Salvatore (Sam) Pompeo and Gladys (Cullender) Pompeo. Wayne’s mother passed away when he was six from pneumonia, and Wayne and his father lived with his paternal grandparents for several years before Sam remarried. Wayne was the eldest of four siblings: Fred Pompeo, who passed away in 2018, James (Skeezix) Pompeo of Mesa, Arizona, and Donna Sue Garcia, of Scottsdale, AZ. Wayne often spoke of his grandparents’ kindness and praised his grandmother’s wonderful Italian cooking. His father’s family immigrated to America from Pacentro, Italy, and Wayne was always proud of his Italian heritage and loved Italian cuisine. He was famous for his meatballs, and, unfortunately for those who would like to replicate them, he made them without a recipe, like a real chef.
His father, Sam, was the mayor of the small town of Maxwell, New Mexico for 32 years, and he owned the telephone company in Maxwell, where Wayne spent many long afternoons from the age of nine working at the switchboard (think Lily Tomlin in “Laugh-In”). An excellent student, Wayne graduated first in his class from Maxwell High School (years later his wife would tease him, wondering aloud whether this was truly a monumental accomplishment, given that there were but four students in his graduating class). He played basketball and his favorite teacher was his English teacher. After high school, Wayne enrolled in college, declaring a political science major, at the University of New Mexico. He left college to join the Navy in 1951, serving in the Korean War as a radio operator on the Naval ship the U.S.S. Rupertus.
After leaving the Navy in 1954, he joined his cousin Louie in California, where Wayne lived for the rest of his life. He worked for Standard Pressed Steel (SPS) for close to 50 years, as an inside salesman and production control manager. Early in his tenure at SPS, he met Dorothy Mercer, a native Kansan, on the telephone as he had to speak to her boss at Boeing in Wichita nearly every day. He thought she “sounded pretty,” and a long-distance romance blossomed that was conducted exclusively via telephone, telegraph, and floral arrangements. Just a few months into their courtship, Wayne flew to meet Dorothy on St. Patrick’s Day 1961, and they were married on September 2 of that year. Together, they moved to Santa Ana, CA.
Wayne and Dorothy had three children, Michelle, Michael (Mike), and Mark in their first four years of marriage, and they were devoted and loving parents. Wayne coached his sons’ Little League and club basketball teams for years, and never missed a Father-Daughter banquet or dance with his daughter or any of her choir performances. He was perhaps never happier than when he took his family camping at beautiful California camp sites, and he and his sons went trout-fishing on a lake at dawn.
He loved golfing, playing tennis, and bridge—a highlight of his and Dorothy’s week for many years was having Bob and Mary Golightly over every Friday night to play bridge. He loved fine dining: the Morton’s Steakhouse phone number was saved as a contact on his cell phone. Wayne was a voracious reader (chiefly fiction, politics, and history): his kids could not believe how he dispatched James Michener tomes in an evening or two. He loved playing the craps table in Las Vegas and Atlantic City. He was known for his strong work ethic and his unwavering belief in the virtue of promptness. Wayne loved attending Pompeo family reunions and the reunions for sailors who served on the U.S.S. Rupertus.
Wayne was predeceased by his wife, Dorothy. He is survived by his daughter, Michelle Lindfors (Jon) of Orange, CA, an English teacher; his son Mike (Susan) of Arlington, VA, currently serving the nation as Secretary of State; and his son Mark of Santa Ana, CA, a social worker. He is survived by three grandchildren: Nicholas (Nick) Pompeo of New York, NY, and James and Emily Lindfors of Orange, CA.
A private graveside memorial service will be held at Fairhaven Memorial Park in Santa Ana, CA on May 8th at 12:00 p.m.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Santa Ana Public Library.
Checks should be made payable to Friends of the Santa Ana Public Library. Write Wayne Pompeo Memorial on the memo line.
Mail memorial checks to: City of Santa Ana / Attn: Finance Director, 20 Civic Center Plaza M-17, Santa Ana, CA 92701.
Fond memories and expressions of sympathy may be shared at www.fairhavenmemorial.com for the Pompeo family.
Wayne Richard Pompeo
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Marcia & Wayne Trammell
May 22, 2020
Sincere condolences to Michele, Michael and Mark on the passing of your dad.
We have fond memories attending baseball and basketball games, carpooling , playing cards, attending various plays, ceremonies and the Olympics with your very devoted parents, Dorothy and Wayne. Also remember a fishing trip with your dads up in Bridgeport. Good times.
We know they are watching the over the three of you with tremendous love and pride.
Blessings and sympathy,
The Trammell Family
May 14, 2020
Our sincere condolences to our cousins. My father has shared many fond memories of Wayne with me over the years. He always wished you all to have a copy of the attached photo. Take care and may any sadness soon be replaced with warm memories.
Harriet Pompèo Elfritz
Albuquerque New Mexico
May 13, 2020
To Mark, Mike and the Pompeo Family,
Your father was my club basketball coach (Cubs) many years ago. I played for many coaches throughout my career, but I never played for a basketball coach that loved me as much as your father. Throughout high school, I would see him at games. He would always find me; have a big smile on his face; give me a big hug; and let me know that he loved me. Over the years, I have thought of him many times and now regret that I never expressed my gratitude to him.
I now have a brother, mother, father, many relatives and your father to visit at Fairhaven. Please know that each time I visit, I will visit Coach and let him know what a great man he was and the the positive impact he had on me when I was 10 and 11 years old.
With love, sadness in my heart and tears in my eyes,
May 11, 2020
Dear Michelle, Mike and Mark,
It has been so many years since we've seen each other. We pray that you are doing well and that God blesses you and your families with peace and joyful memories of your dad. I always remember the laughter...your dad and mine...both with eyes shut, holding their bellies...with that "Pompeo " sound. Don't know how else to describe it, but it makes me smile just thinking about them. I always loved the story about Sam and Wayne on a long trip together...Wayne kept talking and talking and talking. ..Sam waited patiently, then finally asked "Wayne, have you said everything now?" Yes. "Are you sure?" Yes. "Well then, I must be the smartest person in this car. I know everything you know and I know everything I already knew!" A Pompeo lesson in humility! We send our love and condolences and we're offering a Mass for our beloved Wayne at our church in Raton. Love and prayers, Vickie , Flora and family
May 8, 2020
I met Wayne for the first time some years ago at a family reunion. My father introduced me to him as they grew up together here in the small town of Maxwell New Mexico. My impression was that he was a good man with a sense of humor that would light up the room. Mike I am sorry for you and the famlies loss I regret that I was not able to get to know him better along with the rest of his family. The world will shine less brighter without him.
May 7, 2020
Wayne, you will never be forgotten. To this day I still tell stories of you and Dorothy.. I was fortunate enough to work with both of you at SPS and to become friends with Dorothy and she told me so many stories of you, and of course Mike, Michelle and Mark. You will be missed by all who called you a friend.
May 5, 2020
Dear Pompeo Cousins,
Your parents loved you more than life itself. They are always with you, and you are blessed to have the perfect guardian angels lighting your way.
Uncle Wayne always had that infectious laugh/smile that would turn any day into a celebration of life. We love you guys so very much.
Linda Stump and family
May 4, 2020
Someone as special as "wayne" will never be forgotten. He/she will remain in our hearts forever. We will miss you - me and cris