Wayne Corpening was born on May 14, 1914 in Horseshoe, North Carolina (located outside of Hendersonville), as the ninth of nine children on a small family farm. He graduated from North Carolina State College in 1936 and became Assistant County Farm Agent in Haywood County. In 1942, Wayne, being an ROTC reserve officer, was called into service. He was assigned to the 9th Infantry Division, 39th Infantry Regiment….which was a highly decorated unit that had as its motto: “Triple A Bar Zero”: Anything, Anywhere, Anytime, Bar Nothing! He participated in three D-Day invasions (in North Africa, Sicily and Europe). He retired from the service as a Lieutenant Colonel in 1946 (having earned the Silver Star, the Bronze Star with Oak Leaf Cluster, and the Legion of Merit).
Following the war, Wayne returned to Haywood County in western North Carolina where he continued his work as County Farm Agent. While there, he started the Community Development Program. By organizing all of the small communities throughout the county, he helped the county’s many farmers market their tobacco, beef cattle and farm produce. He took these farmers (by bus) on several trips to other parts of the nation (to learn what farmers there were growing and raising, and to see how they did things…including how they marketed their products).
In the early part of 1952, Wayne was promoted to the position of Western North Carolina District Farm Agent. Later in that same year, he was recruited by Archie Davis to join Wachovia Bank and Trust Company, to head-up their newly formed Economic Development Department. He was instrumental in fairly quickly starting the Northwest North Carolina Development Association. The formation of the Economic Development Department at Wachovia was the first such undertaking for a bank anywhere, and due to the success Wachovia enjoyed because of Wayne’s efforts: this was soon duplicated by banks throughout the nation. In 1963, he led a group of businessmen to Europe to study their techniques and marketing efforts.
When his close friend Dan Moore was elected Governor in 1964, Wayne was asked to be the Coordinator of Economic Development for North Carolina. (Wachovia granted him a leave of absence for this service to the State). He was later appointed as Director of the State Planning Task Force, and in 1967, the Director of Administration for the State of N.C. He held this position until the end of the Moore administration (in 1968).
After returning to Winston-Salem and Wachovia Bank, Wayne continued his deep personal commitment to public service by serving as the President of such prestigious groups as:
· the Greater Winston-Salem Chamber of Commerce
· the Northwest North Carolina Development Association
· the Agricultural Bankers Association
· North Carolina League of Municipalities.
· 4-H Development Fund. He was also made a member of the National 4-H Foundation.
Wayne also served as:
· Vice Chairman of the Dixie Classic Fair Commission
· Public Director of the Flue-Cured Tobacco Cooperative Stabilization Corporation
· Director of Keep North Carolina Beautiful
· Chairman of the Forsyth County Democratic Executive Committee.
His service to the community also included his serving on the Boards of such recognizable organizations as:
· the Board of Governors of the Greater University of North Carolina
· the Trustees of Brevard College
· the Triad United Methodist Home (also known as Arbor Acres). He was instrumental in taking the original ideas for this retirement facility, and helping mold them into the successful organization found today that is now the proud home many of our community’s senior citizens.
Wayne was a proud member of the Rotary Club of Winston-Salem (and was happy to plan his Tuesdays around this Club’s meetings for over 50 years). In 1977 he retired from Wachovia Bank as a Senior Vice President for Economic Development.
It was in that same year that Wayne ran for Mayor of Winston-Salem, where he was elected for what ended up being three consecutive terms. (For his third term of office, he ran unopposed by any Democrat in the Primary Election, and then ran unopposed by any Republican in the General Election). During his twelve years in office, he helped change the face of our city. His vast experience and contacts in economic development moved the city forward and diversified Winston-Salem's employment base. Included in his many successes were the passing of a referendum to build the Lawrence Joel Coliseum, the completion of the Interstate 40 bypass around our city, the construction of the Archie Elledge Sewage Plant, the development of the Stouffer’s Winston Plaza Hotel (which is now known as the Adams Mark Hotel), the development of the Triad Park Office Complex downtown (whose centerpiece now serves as the corporate headquarters for BB&T), and he saerved as a founding board member of the Piedmont Club. His tireless efforts helped make Winston-Salem a better city for all citizens.
Because of his tireless efforts, the statement he routinely started his many speeches with (“Isn’t is a GREAT day in Winston-Salem?”) can today be truly answered affirmatively by repeating the motto he gave to the city: “We ARE doing it in Winston-Salem!”
Wayne was a faithful member of Centenary United Methodist Church, where he also served in numerous roles including Chairman of the Administrative Board. He is survived by his wife and life partner of 61 years, Mabel and his son, Harry who is also a member of this club.
The committee moves that this resolution be included in the minutes of this Rotary Club and that a copy be sent to his family.
James E. Holmes, III, Chair
James E. Holmes, Jr.
Donna Irving Lambeth
John F. McNair, III
George P. Robinson
Bryce A. Stuart.