Wayne Maynard, 1948-2023

A longtime friend has passed.

This past Saturday, I got a call that I’d been dreading: my friend of 31 years, Wayne Maynard, had succumbed to heart ailments. He was 75. In about an hour, I’ll head down to North Carolina for a remembrance.

Wayne and I met almost as soon as I arrived to start my doctoral work in political science at The University of Alabama in May of 1992. I was just out of the Army, a casualty of the post-Cold War drawdown, and he was a retired Green Beret major two years into the program. We became fast friends.

The photo atop the post, taken from his funeral home obit, looks to have been taken somewhere around the time that our time in Tuscaloosa overlapped. It’s how I mostly think of him, even though we saw each other periodically over the years after our careers moved us apart geographically.

The changing perspective of time is a funny thing. While I fancied myself a grizzled veteran, I was 26 and single with a whole lot to learn about the ways of the world. Wayne was 18 years older, married with grown kids, and two decades of adventure courtesy the US Army. That, combined with a head start in the program, made him a natural mentor.

He grilled me many a steak, eventually teaching me to eat them medium rare. Even escapist shoot-’em-up movies became teachable moments when watching them with a retired Green Beret and former Ranger School instructor.

Twenty years of service came with a pension that, as he liked to say, paid him “$30,000 a year just for breathin’.” He frequently employed a “Your money’s no good here” approach, cognizant of my financial circumstances at the time. It’s an approach that I adopted myself, paying it forward many times over with younger colleagues as my career advanced.

At some point, he introduced me to his concept of “Bozeman, Montana friends.” Men would develop friendships that would withstand long separations. Those friends could not have talked for ten years, call the other at 2 am, and say “Hey, man. I’m in jail in Bozeman, Montana and need you to bail me out.” And they’d do it, no questions asked, and hash out the recriminations later.

Thankfully, neither of us ever needed the bail money. But, as he moved off to North Carolina for his wife Peggy’s career and I moved to the DC area for mine, we saw each other less. We talked on the phone regularly for years but less so over time. He was never much for reaching out and I did so less after I had kids.

Still, when we did re-connect we’d pick right off where we left it. We stopped by his house a few times over the years when traveling nearby and talked on the phone with some frequency. But not as much as we should have.

FILED UNDER: Obituaries, , , , , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. MWLib says:

    Heh, Bozeman, Montana friend.
    Everyone needs friends like this.
    My condolences.

  2. Mikey says:

    I’m sorry for the loss of your good friend. May his memory be a blessing.

  3. Not the IT Dept. says:

    My condolences. May his memory be a blessing.

  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    But not as much as we should have.

    I think everybody can identify with this. Sorry for your loss.

  5. CSK says:

    Please accept my deepest condolences.

  6. Flat Earth Luddite says:

    Condolences on your loss. Thanks for sharing him with us

  7. becca says:

    A lovely tribute to an old friend. So sorry for your loss.

  8. inhumans99 says:

    First, sorry for the loss of a dear friend.

    Next, the first time I heard of what you call a Bozeman, Montana friend was when I was at a comic store in Northridge, CA over 25 years back (I think it is okay to plug the name, even though I have stopped buying comics several years back, the store is Continental Comics, one of the longer running comic stores around) and of all the folks who were in the store when I happened to be there (probably on new comic Wednesday) Harlan Ellison (yes, that Harlan Ellison) was having a chat with the proprietor of the store who I also chatted with quite often.

    I forget the context, but Harlan said that he has friends that could call him at 2 am in the morning to be bailed out, or picked up from a dive bar, or similar circumstances and he would get dressed, drive hours if need be (even hop on a plane if he had to quickly get to the Bay Area, etc.), help them out and get clarity on why his friend needed help well after they had been bailed out, etc..

    I am anti-social and do not personally have that type of friend myself, but if a sibling ever needed help, I would help then ask a ton of questions later.

    I am so glad Wayne was that type of friend for you James. May he RIP.

  9. Rick Almeida says:

    I’m very sorry for your loss, James.

  10. DrDaveT says:

    I get an extra kick from the idea of Bozeman friends — my high school sweetheart’s father was originally from Bozeman, which I had never heard of before then.

    I only have a couple of them, but I treasure them.

  11. mattbernius says:

    May his memory always be a blessing James!

  12. steve says:

    Condolences James.


  13. Lori Epik says:

    My condolences to everyone who called this man their friend. I can see why he was so important to many people. I am sorry for your loss.