Roger C. Wait, 86, of rural Columbia City, died Saturday, June 18, 2016, in his beloved city of Cody, Wyo.
He was born Aug. 1, 1929, in Decatur, a son of Milo Calvert and Alice Magdeline (Miller) Wait. In March 1941, his family moved to a farm in Union Township, Whitley County from Decatur. Roger graduated from Coesse High School and Manchester College and then went on to proudly serve in the United States Army as a military policeman overseas.
He spent many years farming with his brother, Louis E. Wait, which he often spoke of fondly. He worked in the laboratory at St. Joe Hospital, Fort Wayne, Whitley Memorial Hospital, St. Mary Mercy Hospital, Gary, Augustana Hospital, Chicago, Ill., and then in 1972 he returned to be the Director of the Laboratory at Whitley County Memorial Hospital. Along with his brother, Dr. Jerome Wait, the two of them spearheaded the development of the Whitley County EMS and Paramedic program, which Roger considered to be one of this life’s most important accomplishments. From 1974 until 1980 he also served as Whitley County EMS director. Roger then accepted the position of Director of Community Relations for the hospital until his retirement in 1995.
In June of 1972, he married Inara Petersons in Chicago, Ill., and they made their move back down to Columbia City.
His memberships included Columbia City Optimist Club since 1981 and formerly Columbia City Lions Club for 15 years; Roger prided himself on donating his time to help to make a difference in his community. Roger also helped to spearhead the start of the Hearbeats Health Festival as well.
Surviving relatives include his wife: Inara; four children: Erik Wait, Dallas, Texas; Kristin Wait, Wapiti, Wyo.; Carol (Rick) Price, Etna Green; Michael (Tina) Wait, Albion; six grandchildren: Ethan; Sloane; Jennifer; JJ; Corey; and Cody; one great-grandchild: Jesse; and a brother: Dr. Jerome H. Wait, Columbia City; four nephews: Shawn Wait; Bryan Wait; Mark Wait; and Pat Murphy; three nieces: Lindy Wait Bock; Susie Wait Kroemer; and Karen Wait Cook; and many great-nieces and -nephews and great-great-nieces and -nephews as well. Roger held all of his family members inside his huge heart. In addition to his parents; he was preceded in death by a son: Kevin Wait; a great-grandchild: Jasper; a sister: Geraldine E. Wait; and two brothers: Louis Edward Wait; and Donald M. Wait.
A memorial service will be held Sept. 3, 2016 at Smith and Sons Funeral Home, Columbia City. The time of service will be updated closer to that date.
Preferred memorials are to be made to Parkview Whitley EMS in Roger’s name.