American missionary in Australia, Papua New Guinea had a gift for learning

Brother Wayne Till, 1933-2019

Brother_Wayne_Till_SVDKnown for his work ethic and cheerfulness, Divine Word Brother Wayne Till, 85, died at Techny on Feb. 8.

“Brother Wayne worked wonderfully as part of the team in the Divine Word College Development Office,” said Divine Word Father Michael Hutchins, who was college president when Brother Wayne arrived at the school. “He had a gift for connecting with people.”

Born in Bellevue, Iowa, Brother Wayne was the second of Agnes (nee Manderscheid) and William Till’s three sons. After graduating from St. Joseph High School in Bellevue in 1951, Brother Wayne entered formation with the Society of the Divine Word.

While in formation at Techny, he worked as an assistant to horticulturalist Divine Word Brother Charles Reckamp. Under Brother Charles’s care, Techny Mission Gardens developed more than 140 varieties of day lilies and produced hybrid irises, including the award-winning celestial snow. They also introduced Mission Blue spruce and the conical evergreen called Techny Arborvitae.

In 1960, Brother Wayne professed vows and was assigned to Kellyville, a community outside of Sydney, Australia. His work on the congregation’s dairy farm provided fresh milk to the nearby seminary. Recognizing his talent for farming, his superiors later made him responsible for the cattle herd at St. Vincent’s Seminary in Marburg, Australia.

After ten years in Australia, Brother Wayne was assigned as a mechanic in Wewak, Papua New Guinea. To prepare for the job, he worked at an Australian service station for three weeks, took a course through Johnson Outboard Motors and learned about hydraulics at the David Brown Tractor Company. After his mechanical preparation, he learned Pidgin, the common language of Papua New Guinea.

Then, he got to work repairing motor cycles, outboard boat motors, lawnmowers and the occasional chainsaw. During this time, he also served as bursar for Holy Spirit Seminary in Port Moresby.

Having fulfilled 28 years of missionary service in Papua New Guinea, Brother Wayne returned to the United States in 1998 and joined the staff of the Divine Word College Development Office.

He moved to Techny in late 2018. Brother Wayne’s funeral will take place at Divine Word College on Feb. 16 at 11 a.m. He will be buried at St. Mary’s Cemetery in Techny.

He was preceded in death by his parents and his brothers Lorin and Orlyn Till.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations for the care of retired missionaries may be sent to The Rector, Divine Word Residence, 1901 Waukegan Road, P.O. Box 6000, Techny, IL 60082-6000.


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