Wayne Field, longtime Lodi teacher, dies

Posted: Thursday, July 8, 2010 12:05 am | Updated: 6:10 am, Thu Jul 8, 2010.
By Ross Farrow
Wayne Larkin Field enjoyed a very full life.

He devoted himself to journalism, first in eighth grade at Lodi's Needham School. Then he became advertising manager for The Flame, Lodi High School's student newspaper, before becoming a longtime newspaper and yearbook adviser.

If that wasn't enough, Field compiled a history of First United Methodist Church in 2008 and was planning a reunion this year of his Methodist Youth Fellowship group from the 1940s.

Field died on Monday at the age of 84.

One would be hard-pressed to find anyone who loved Lodi more than Field did. He was fiercely loyal about shopping in Lodi and supporting local merchants.

"If I went to a mall in Stockton and bought something, he would be upset," said his daughter, Deborah Field Dawang, who now lives in Folsom. "It wouldn't matter if he could save $100 by going to Stockton. He would shop in Lodi."

Born in October 1925 to John and Amanda Field, of Lodi, Field was the youngest of six children, including a twin brother, Shirley Field. Wayne and Shirley Field bought the Galt Herald newspaper in 1948, which they operated until 1951.

Field was newspaper adviser at Lodi High from 1961 until his retirement in 1981. He was also yearbook adviser from 1962 to 1981.

While serving as newspaper adviser in 1972, Field was named California High School Educator of the Year by the California Newspaper Publishers Association Foundation. He was nominated for the award by the Lodi News-Sentinel and The Record in Stockton.

Once a year, Field would bring his students to the News-Sentinel office, where for one night, they would choose the lead story in the next day's News-Sentinel, write headlines and lay out pages.

"It was a great experience for those kids," News-Sentinel Chairman Fred Weybret said. "They got really excited about it."

While teaching at Lodi and Tokay, Field would allow students onto the newspaper and yearbook production staffs if they had a grade of B or better, he wrote in a four-page typed autobiography. Only the editor-in-chief could consult directly with Field on policy matters.

He also worked with state officials to update the California Education Code regarding freedom of the press for high school publications.

Field retired in 1981 after 30 years of teaching. He then became a partner in Abrahamson Printing in Lodi. He was a member of the Tokay Remote Control Modelers, enjoyed making jelly from fruit grown in his backyard and built 19 model airplanes that actually fly.

"It's amazing because I can't build a paper airplane," said Deborah Dawang, his daughter.

Five of his planes are housed in the World of Wonders Science Museum on Sacramento Street.

Field was quite the collector as well.

Do you have 150 photo albums in your house? Do you have more than 30 racks of slides of your brother's vacation trips? Do you have a videotape of every San Francisco 49ers football game since 1984? Field did.

Those, along with his model airplanes, can be found all over his house, Dawang said.

Field spent his entire life as a member of First United Methodist Church in Downtown Lodi. While the church had a recorded history from 1853 to 1958, nothing had been written since. In 2008, Field took oral histories and updated the church history by adding the last 50 years.

And just recently, he discovered that he was the namesake of Wayne B. Wheeler, a 1920s Prohibitionist. Field and his mother staunchly supported Prohibition.

He was preceded in death by his wife, Margery, and all five of his siblings. He is survived by his two children, Deborah Dawang, of Folsom, and David Field, of Elverta in northern Sacramento County.

Contact reporter Ross Farrow at rossf@lodinews.com.

Service information

A service for Wayne Larkin Field will be held at 10 a.m. July 17 at First United Methodist Church, 200 W. Oak St., Lodi. Interment will be private at Lodi Memorial Cemetery.

Memorial contributions may be made to a charity of the donor's choice.