LaWayne Eugene Janssen of Castro Valley died Nov. 10, 2017 after battling recurrent salivary adenocarcinoma. He was 90.
Born in Ida Grove, Iowa on Sept. 23, 1927, he was the only child of Albert and Frieda Janssen. He grew up on a farm, and at the age of 13, lost his mother to leukemia. When he was 18, he entered the Navy. He met his first wife, Norma Wood, at a local dance when still in the Navy. Once discharged, they married on Oct. 7, 1949. They had three daughters.
Janssen lived in the Bay Area his entire adult life after being discharged from the Navy. He resided in Hayward, Livermore, Newark and, most recently, Castro Valley.
When 38, he graduated from Diablo Valley College with an associate’s degree. He worked at Sandia National Laboratories, Newark Unified School District and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. He was in the Air National Guard Reserve for over 20 years.
Janssen had been a volunteer with the Castro Valley California Highway Patrol since 2004. He deployed radar trailers, helped with toy drives and worked at festivals, parades and other events. His positive attitude and work ethic, along with his one-liners and laid back attitude, endeared him to many.
Janssen was an avid dance enthusiast. In 1962, he and his first wife started square dancing. Four years later, he became a square dance caller. He started the square dance club, The Valley Travelers, in Livermore in the mid-1960s. He continued this avocation until March 2016, when at the age of 88, he ended his decades-long avocation. He continued square dancing with the Ranchero Squares in Hayward into 2017. His love of dancing was even more evident in that for the last five years of his life he spent countless hours ballroom dancing, learning the cha-cha, salsa, swing and other dances.
The love of his life, Doris Roepke, preceded him in death in 2012. He is survived by his three daughters: Gail Haak (Barry) of Los Lunas, New Mexico; Sherri Janssen (Richard) of Englewood, Colorado; and Doralene Campbell (Bruce) of Livermore, along with three grandchildren, Scott Janssen, Greg Bailey (Holly) and Tiffany Bailey. He also leaves behind many friends that will miss his infectious personality.