Dr. Wayne Gerald Thorpe

Dr. Wayne Gerald Thorpe

After 77 years of sharing the best of himself with all who knew him, Dr. Wayne G. Thorpe passed away on September 26, 2019, in Gilbert, Arizona. Wayne, or “Doc,” as he was affectionately known to all who had the pleasure of sitting in his dental chair, leaves us with tear-soaked eyes and memories of love and laughter.

A service to celebrate his life will be held at 10:00am on Friday, October 4, 2019, at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints chapel located at 3307 S. Greenfield Road, Gilbert, Arizona. There will be two viewings for family and friends at the same chapel. The first, from 6:00 to 9:00pm, on Thursday, October 3, 2019, and the second from 8:30 to 9:45am prior to the funeral service on Friday. Interment will be held at 3:00pm on Saturday, October 5, 2019 at Springville Evergreen Cemetery, 1997 S. 400 E, Springville, UT.

Wayne Thorpe was born on February 28, 1942, in Provo, Utah, the second child and first son of Blaine and Edna (Starr). His formative years were spent in Springville and Mapleton, Utah, among aunts, uncles, and cousins from both sides of his family, relationships he cherished throughout his life.

When he was in high school, his parents moved their family to Ames, Iowa, where Wayne developed several life-long friendships and graduated from Ames High School. It was there that Wayne learned to care for animals, a passion that inspired him to pursue a career as a veterinarian.

After high school, Wayne studied at Utah State University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in Zoology and, more important, met and married his beloved first wife, Loraine (Slade), with whom he would welcome into the world five sons and two daughters, one of whom was deceased at birth.

After both Wayne and Loraine graduated from college, they moved to Chicago, Illinois, where Loraine taught school to support Wayne as he attended dental school at the University of Illinois. Doc worked construction at night and during class breaks to help make ends meet for the young family. Upon earning his D.D.S. degree, Wayne completed his residency in oral and maxillofacial surgery at Cook County Hospital. While in Chicago, Wayne and Loraine enjoyed living close to his parents and the family of his dear younger sister Eileen and her husband Jim.

Upon completion of his residency, Wayne and Loraine moved their growing family to Cheyenne, Wyoming. Wayne provided oral surgery services throughout Wyoming and Nebraska, and Loraine taught school. It was in Cheyenne where Doc began his decades-long commitment to two causes that became very important to him throughout his life. He joined the United States Air Force Reserves, eventually rising to the rank of Major, providing surgery to active-duty members at F.E. Warren Air Force Base and to veterans at the local Veterans Affairs Administration hospital. He held a deep reverence and love for those who served our country, and he inculcated that sentiment in his children. Wayne cherished the ordered liberty that was ensured by our constitutional system and he loved the United States of America.

The second cause to which Wayne began his lifelong dedication in Cheyenne was the Boy Scouts of America, an organization with which he was involved for the remainder of his life. He valued the Boy Scout principles and enjoyed the camaraderie he developed with his fellow Scouting leaders. Wayne believed deeply that it was better to build strong boys through the values of the Scouting program than to mend weak men.

After 10 years in Cheyenne, Wayne and Loraine moved their family to Higley, Arizona, which became their home for the remainder of their lives. In Arizona, Dr. Thorpe practiced oral surgery from his Mesa offices for 30 years, and provided his professional services at hospitals throughout the Phoenix metro area. Despite his disappointment at “only” becoming a dentist and not his once-dreamed vocation of veterinary medicine, Doc chose to live in rural Higley where he could raise animals, drive his tractor, and “farm.” The man sure could make dirt grow!

He also continued to serve in the Air Force Reserves, regularly performing surgeries at Davis Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson. While other dentists spent their “hard-earned” days off on the golf course, Doc spent every Wednesday serving in the Mesa, Arizona, temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints –- which he did for 27 years!

While he prided himself on his “efficiency” in pulling teeth –- a “talent” not always appreciated by his patients — Wayne was, at his core, a healer. He dedicated his life to alleviating pain and suffering in others. Every night he would call each of his patients to personally monitor their recovery. He cared intensely for friends and loved ones as they endured health challenges and possessed tremendous compassion for those in need. The Thorpe family dining room table proved to be a suitable surgical center for countless neighbors and friends who needed urgent care. More importantly, Wayne and Loraine created a home where friends gathered to laugh and wounded souls found a welcome respite.

After his beloved Loraine passed away in March 2004, Wayne found hope, then friendship, then love anew when he met and married Jeanne Humphrey. They spent 15 joy-filled years together traveling the world, serving their church in the temples of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and spending time with family and loved ones. Jeanne brought out qualities in Wayne that made him a better man, and even helped turn him into a genuine green thumb. She encouraged him to nourish his relationships with his siblings and children — a labor that will forever bless the Thorpe family.

Wayne believed in serving others. He was quick to apologize and to forgive. His was an unmentioned and quiet generosity born out of best efforts to emulate his Savior, Jesus Christ.

As dedicated as Wayne was to healing and helping others, whether physically through his talent as an oral surgeon or spiritually through his dedication to his church congregation and the Scouting program, no one was more dedicated to the healing power of a well-delivered joke. Wherever Doc was, you were sure to find others smiling.

Wayne was preceded in death by his beloved Loraine, as well as his parents, his dear grandson Kolten Thorpe, and his adored younger brother Allen.

Dr. Thorpe is survived by his devoted wife Jeanne; his sister Marilyn (Harris), and her husband Robert; his sister Eileen (Bayer), and her husband Jim; his brother Paul, and his wife Velda; his sister-in-law, Elizabeth; his wonderful daughter Katijean; his sons Gary, David, Mark, Thomas, and Michael; his daughters-in-law Roxanne (Gary), Marci (David), Kate (Mark) and Kathy (Thomas); his stepchildren Jeff Myers, and Julie Goss; and his adored 11 grandsons, eight granddaughters and two great-grandchildren.

In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to the University of Utah, University Hospital Foundation.

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10 responses to Dr. Wayne Gerald Thorpe

  1. We send the Thorpe family our sympathy and love at this difficult time. Wayne was more than our next door neighbor. He helped us grow spiritually and become more devout followers of Christ. Thankfully he loved animals! Living next to the Dumont Ranch was not always easy! He even loved the few months we had the three little pigs. Wayne was a great man and we will think of him often.

  2. My dear friend went home to Our Heavenly Father. I will truly miss him. He took me under his wing and taught me to believe in myself and over one my afflictions
    He retaught me about the Temple when I lost my memory. He sat with me in the temple and guided me through. He is my brother and he showed me how. He awakened the Spirit in me through the Church that we belonged to. He was amazing to me. He last came and visited me in the hospital when I had Gangrene and the surgeons wanted to take my arm. He prayed with me and said it would all turnout according to Heavenly Father. And it did. Until we meet again Brother ,rest and visit with your kin. I will miss you.
    Gregory L Basilotto Sr

  3. Much love to all of the Thorpe family. Many childhood memories with you. May peace and comfort of our Savior rest upon you and may the reunion in heaven begin.

  4. My condolences to Wayne’s family. We spent many delightful hours together during our junior high and early high school days in Springville, Utah. I have nothing but respect for Dr. Thorpe, especially learning of, but not closely following, his professional career. We went our separate ways, living states apart. I have pleasant memories of Wayne that no one can take away from me and I think I am a better person for having known Wayne. He was always a joy to be around. Family members should be extremely proud of such a giving, loving example of what it is to be a thoroughly decent person and an example of a Christlike life. Thank you, Wayne, for the indelible memories. We’ll see you on the other side. R. Kent Tipton

  5. May you each be uplifted by your memories and the character that he helped build in each of you! Honorable children all.

  6. Beautifully written piece that allowed me to come to know the father of two dear friends Wayne’s legacy will live on through his children and those he touched. We send our heartfelt condolences to the Thorpe family and express our gratitude to Wayne for the men he raised who we call friends. God bless and comfort the survivors and may He bring peace to mind and heart of each.

  7. Mike Payne says:

    I have a gnarly scar/missing chunk of skin on my left middle finger from a scouting trip in which I missed the apple and sliced through flesh. Doc was quick on the take, applying superglue to quickly stopping the bleeding (which, I might add, he did before that was a thing). I’ll always have this part of Doc with me as a reminder that immediate action often trumps a well thought out plan, especially when it comes to healing those you love and those that surround you.

  8. Scott Romney says:

    Wayne was a great man. His children serve as evidence, including Mike who is a great friend and who loved Wayne and honors him by the way he lives his life. Heartfelt condolences for your loss.

  9. Del Cox says:

    Wayne found a person who grew Christmas trees. So the scout troop started a fund raiser to sell the trees. Selling period lasted about three weeks in the winter. Wayne provided his mobile trailer so we could stay overnight and guard trees. In Cheyenne it was cold and windy, but we did raise funds for the scouts.
    Wayne and I attended Leader Woodbadge training for several weekends. We had some great times.

  10. We are so sorry about the passing of Wayne. He was a fine man who served others throughout his life. I have fond memories of getting together with the Thorpe family when we were young kids. Edna was one of my favorite aunts. My dad Courtland Starr loved all of his siblings and their kids.

    It seems just yesterday that we saw Wayne at Allen’s funeral. Now he is gone, too. May his family feel the comfort of our Savior’s love at this time.

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