Wayne Lee Harman, a longtime Fredericksburg area resident and gentleman of fearless curiosity, died November 16 of complications from late-stage Parkinson’s disease. He was 81. Wayne will be remembered for his 47 years of tireless service as a physicist, his passionate volunteer work to preserve the history and heritage of the region, and his patronage of the Fredericksburg arts community.
He attended Virginia Polytechnic Institute and graduated in 1963 with a degree in Physics. He continued his studies in Physics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, receiving a graduate degree in 1965. His thirst for adventure then led him to Ankara, Turkey where he served as a Peace Corps Volunteer teaching Physics at Middle East Technical University. He said that not a day would pass where he didn’t reflect on his experiences there.
In 1968, upon completion of Peace Corps service, Wayne began his lifelong career as a physicist for the Naval Surface Warfare Center at Dahlgren, Virginia. In his first year, he volunteered to spend four months in Vietnam as a civilian advisor to Admiral Elmo Zumwalt, who commanded the Naval forces there. Unable to serve militarily due to his type-1 diabetes, he considered this his opportunity to contribute to the war effort.
He worked on many missile programs at Dahlgren, primarily the Tomahawk cruise missile project, serving as branch head twice, Principal Scientist, and head of the Science and Technology Council. He was the recipient of numerous recognitions, including the Navy Meritorious Civilian Service Award and the David Brown Award. In the twilight of his career at the NSWC, he was instrumental in the creation of the Dahlgren Heritage Museum.
Outside of the office, Wayne served as President of the Board of the Fredericksburg Center for the Arts, where he met his wife of 45 years, Lucy Goodloe. He also served on the boards of the Historic Fredericksburg Foundation and the Central Rappahannock Heritage Center. He volunteered countless hours at the CRHC and the Dahlgren Heritage Museum.
He loved jazz and rock ‘n roll, which he often played loudly in his convertible on “top-down” days (any day above freezing). He was a meticulous mixologist and collector of esoterica, including dragons and more than 2,000 unique banana stickers.
In addition to his wife, he is survived by his sisters, Janet Ferguson and Carolyn Turk (David); his brother, Gene Harman; his daughter, Sally Harman (George Harvey); his son, Goodloe Harman, (Mallory Jones); and his many beloved nieces and nephews. The Harman family would like to extend a heartfelt thanks to Wayne’s adored caregivers, Magnis Gonzalez and Marilyn Spottswood.
A memorial service will be held at St. George’s Episcopal Church on Monday, November 22 at 11 a.m. The family will receive guests at the home of Lucy Harman on Sunday, November 21 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Dahlgren Heritage Museum (https://dahlgrenmuseum.org/the-foundation/donate) or the Central Rappahannock Heritage Center (https://www.crhcarchives.org/support).