Nature 40

Wayne Michael Gaffney

August 13, 1933 ~ February 7, 2022 (age 88)


On February 7, 2022, Wayne Michael Gaffney moved on to be home with his God and his Lord, Jesus Christ.

He told his children that he wrote his own obituary, containing just two words: “He lived.” A simple reflection of humility and understatement – yet holding a world of truth.

Wayne Gaffney began that living on August 13, 1933, the proud son of James and Louise Gaffney (both deceased), and sibling to Richard, Kevin and Patricia (deceased).

He met the love of his life by agreeing to drive a group of young ladies to a dance. By the end of the night, he had calculated the very circuitous route home that would allow Jean Emery to be the last fare of the night – guaranteeing he would have the most time alone with her. She soon became Jean Gaffney, and their whirlwind romance whirled for 63 years until her death on September 13, 2020.

His life’s work was a career of service, including as a father, a soldier, a teacher, a counselor, a parole officer and a hearing officer (judge). He embraced a life pursuing the good – as encapsulated in Micah 6:8: “He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?” Justice, mercy, humility before God – not just words or ideals, but a life yearning to fulfill that balance. He put this in practice serving his country, his students, his family or his fellow workers (be they officers or offenders, he saw them all as fellow sinners deserving grace, bearing the image of God). 

He was a man marked by a deep wisdom, a Holy Spirit kind of wisdom. James 3:13 says, “Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom.”  That was Wayne – a good life defined by deeds done in humility.

Integrity, no matter the cost. Thoughtfulness, no matter time lost. Patience, no matter the circumstance. Love, no matter the recipient.

Wayne’s legacy lives on through his children – Gregory, Matthew, David, Mary (Reohr), Christopher (deceased), Patricia (Metroka), Sean, Mark, Michelle, Wayne Michael, Rebecca (Chick) and Luke; through their spouses, and through his 44 grandchildren and 37 great-grandchildren. Still, that only scratches the surface: Wayne’s legacy lives on through all those touched by his spirit over the past nine decades – those he loved unconditionally, those he embraced in friendship, those he served alongside, those he taught, those he studied from, those to whom he offered and modeled new life, those given second chances whether accepted or rejected, those he raised and those who move in the circles with the ones he raised.

Wayne Gaffney was born again – and he offered both lives as living sacrifices to his God and his fellow people.

Yes, “he lived.”

In lieu of flowers, consider donating to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Heroes to Heroes, or a charity of your choice.

Visitation will be held from 4PM to 7PM on Friday, February 11th, at Brew Funeral Home, 48 South Street, Auburn, NY 13021. Mass of Christian burial will be at 11AM, Saturday, February 12th at Saint Patrick’s Catholic Church, 303 Main Street, Aurora, NY 13026.

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Wayne Michael Gaffney, please visit our floral store.


February 11, 2022

4:00 PM to 7:00 PM
Brew Funeral Home
48 South Street
Auburn, NY 13021

Funeral Mass
February 12, 2022

11:00 AM
St. Patrick's Church
303 Main Street
Aurora, NY 13026


St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
262 Danny Thomas Place, Memphis TN 38105
Tel: 1-800-805-5856

Cystic Fibrosis Foundation
4550 Montgomery Avenue, Suite 1100N, Bethesda MD 20814
Tel: 1-800-344-4823

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