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WESTFIELD - Wayne Alan Birkenthal, age 57, peacefully passed away surrounded by his loving family at Center for Hope Hospice in Scotch Plains on Sunday, August 26, 2018.
Wayne will be deeply missed but never forgotten by his family and many friends. He was the devoted husband of Lisa C. Birkenthal and the loving father of three beautiful children, Sara (married to Mike Micatka), Chloe, and Zachary. Wayne is survived by his father, Jack Birkenthal, and stepmother, Doris, his sister, Randi Bell, and her husband, Dave, brother, Jeff Birkenthal, and his wife, Ellen, and many cousins, nieces, and nephews. He was preceded in death by his mother, Phyllis Birkenthal.
Wayne graduated from Montclair State University where his love of football and collegiate sports was ingrained. A career followed as an account executive with Cisco Systems, as did a wife and family, where providing for them, with the utmost character and integrity, became his priority. Wayne enjoyed traveling both domestically and internationally. He had a special place in his heart for rivers and mountains and spent two months living abroad with his family in London. Wayne was generous and kind with a warm smile and a wonderful sense of humor.
Wayne lived and raised his family in Westfield, a town he was proud to be a part of. He particularly loved Mindowaskin Park located across the street from his home. This will forever be a place for his family and friends to reflect on his life and mourn his loss. Wayne was a gentle man and he embodied grace and determination as he fought a two decade long battle with Huntington’s Disease. Although he was acutely aware that he would not be given the gift of growing old to watch the lives of his children unfold, he encouraged all of them to pursue higher education in a geographic location of their choice, the epitome of selfless love. His children’s accomplishments were his greatest pride; Sara will graduate with her Juris Doctor in May and will work as a human rights lawyer, Chloe graduated with her Master’s Degree in Social Work and will work as a licensed clinician, and Zachary graduated with his Bachelor of Science in Arts Management.
The Birkenthal family would like to extend a special thank you to the staff at Center for Hope for the incredible care they gave Wayne as a resident for the last year of his life. A celebration of Wayne’s life will be held at Higgins & Bonner Echo Lake Funeral Home at 582 Springfield Avenue in Westfield on Saturday, November 3, 2018 at 1:00 pm. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Huntington's Disease Foundation, www.huntingtonsdiseasefoundation.org or the Center For Hope Hospice, www.cfhh.org.