Wayne Paul Lauden, 77, of Bristol


BRISTOL — Wayne Lauden died on Dec. 7, 2023, surrounded by his family following a rapid advancement of Alzheimer’s disease. The son of Elizabeth (Hoffacker) and Ernest Lauser, he was born in Philadelphia on July 30, 1946, and raised in Media, Pa.

A talented musician and inherently creative, Wayne was classically trained in trumpet at Temple University and devoted to the arts in all forms. He wrote countless tunes and songs (including a full-length opera), played eight instruments, and explored sound design, stagecraft, puppetry, and storytelling.

Holding true to his beliefs as a pacifist Quaker, Wayne became an anti-war campaigner, protester and organizer, blockading ports in canoes to disrupt arms shipments to conflict zones and trained civil-rights protesters in non-violent resistance. During the Vietnam War, Wayne walked 500 miles to personally return his draft card to the desk of the Secretary of Defense. He was imprisoned as a conscientious objector, and later was given presidential pardon by President Jimmy Carter.

Wayne then settled to Windham County, Vt., where he was a performer, a first responder and paramedic, in addition to building two houses in Putney where he raised his family. His love for the outdoors inspired him to hand-build a cedar double kayak in which he navigated Vermont’s waterways by paddle and homemade sail.

Wayne retired to Bristol and quickly found his community of friends by hosting a weekly music jam. Despite the increasing difficulties of Alzheimer’s disease, his unique combination of curiosity, musicality, warmth, and grace remained firmly intact. Many blessings unfolded: Wayne became an enthusiastic member of the Project Independence community, where his spirit and interests were nurtured, and his love of kayaking continued through the support of the NDAA Adaptive Kayaking program. Wayne received TLC in his final weeks at Addison Respite Care Home at Helen Porter. The family will be ever grateful for the fine care provided by these organizations.

Wayne left the world a better (and more interesting) place than he found it, and he lived his final days as he had all others — with a song in his heart. Wayne is survived by the love of his life, Sue Hawkins; his sons, Jon and Jesse (Suzie Wyman); granddaughter, Anna; daughter-in-law, Stephanie; and many well-loved friends.

A celebration of Wayne’s life will be held at Holley Hall in Bristol on Saturday, Jan. 6, at 1:30 p.m. Refreshments will follow, and musicians are invited to bring an instrument for a concurrent Wayne Fest jam session. Donations in Wayne’s honor may be made to Project Independence at ◊


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