WAYNE FRANKLIN NORDELL Jan 17, 1934 – May 17, 2020
Wayne F. Nordell was born in Greeley Colorado in 1934 to generations of Cabinetmakers and Military officers from Ostergotland Sweden who homesteaded 160 acres of farmland in Greely Colorado after President Abraham Lincoln signed the Homestead Act of 1862.
Wayne started working at age 8 years old selling homegrown vegetables on the street corner out of his little red wagon. On the weekends his family of nine (9) played live band music for the Odd fellows and Rebecca’s. Wayne played the tambourine and danced while his father Iver Elmer played Drums, his mother Carry Kathleen Carson on piano, and his brothers & sisters played guitars. Later Wayne worked as Janitor, maintenance and chalkboard cleaner at his elementary and Jr High school.
Wayne had a lifelong best Friend named Keith Mackey that even in dementia was never forgotten and often mentioned especially when caregivers asked, “who is your friend that we can call?” Keith Mackey was always the answer. Mr. Mackey will attend Funeral services from Colorado.
Ken is the son of Wayne's childhood friend, Keith Mackey. Wayne and Keith grew up in Greeley, CO.
Ken grew up listening to stories of Wayne flying during Viet Nam both at his house and at Wayne's family cabin. Ken shared that as a young child he idolized Wayne and listening to the stories made him want to know more.
It was Wayne's relationship with Ken's father and all the stories told that were instrumental in Ken pursuing an aviation career. Ken joined the military, flew C130’s, and now is a pilot for Delta Airlines. Ken shared that even while Wayne shared about his Viet Nam experiences he did so humbly, cautiously and patiently.
In High School Wayne was Quarterback & Linebacker Football Captain winning the Colorado State Championships.
Wayne received his Bachelor’s Degree in Industrial Arts and lifetime Teaching Credential in Woodworking and Cabinet Making from The Colorado State College of Education in 1956. Capitan Nordell received his pilot’s wings in May 1962 after attending flight school in Pensacola Florida. Major Nordell was an A-4 Attack PILOT.
His assignments included a two-year duty tour with VMA 225 from 1963 to 1965, and was part of the first squadron to land at Chu Lai Vietnam in June 1965.
In 1966, Major Nordell reported for duty in Kingsville Texas as a flight instructor.
In 1967, he then returned to his 2nd tour of duty with the 1st MAW in Vietnam as Attack Officer for VMA 211 and then Assistant MAG-12 S-4 officer where he accomplished over 380 warfare missions in 24 months of continuous service in Vietnam.
In 1969, Maj Nordell reported to MCCRTG-10 Yuma Arizona where he served as the Air Crew Training Supervisor at MAWTUPac.
1970 Maj Nordell reported to El Toro Marine Base in Southern California at the Marine Air Weapons Training Unit Compound for Nuclear warfare training.
In 1974, Wayne was stationed another two years overseas in Okinawa Japan.
Wayne retired from the Marine Corps in June 1977.
During his over 20 years of service he was awarded over 22 decorations, badges, commendations, citations and metals of honor including :
Wayne continued working in retirement as a Real Estate Agent, as an Expediter for Bechtel Corporation and later he opened “Wayne’s Boat Canvas and Awnings” shop serving the Newport Beach boating community. Wayne also continued to work as a handyman on his rental property and Colorado cabin, fixing anything electrical, plumbing, roofing, you name it he could fix it. He also enjoyed making furniture throughout his life and traveling.
Wayne’s four brothers, Warren, Robert, Calvin and Keith Pete, were military veterans who served with Honors in WW2 and brother Captain Robert Nordell served as F9F-5 Panther jet fighter pilot with Marine Squadron 311 and Marine Air Group VMB -433 was killed in action in 1953 during the Korean War conflict.
Wayne’s will be buried near his cousin DEAN EDWIN NORDELL LCDR USN Naval Flight Officer in Vietnam with Fighter Squadron VF-96 in Miramar National Cemetery, San Diego.
Major Nordell is survived by his devoted wife of forty-three (43) years, Angelina (Angie) Elizabeth Chaves, his twin sister Jane Kathleen Nordell, his two daughters from his first marriage to Susan Southworth, Sarah Jane & Kathleen, his two stepchildren John (Jack) & Mary, his eight grandchildren Zachery, Rachel, Emily, Mary, Caroline, Brandon, Michael and Jack; and three great-grandchildren, Kenzie, Ben and Oliver.
He was a great American - Semper Fi Wayne.
Wayne's Family wants to thank the staff at Ocean Retreat for providing their excellent service and care for our dad, who remained very strong every day of his stay.
Thank you, Carina, Ace and Kim!
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