With broken yet faith-filled hearts, our family shares the passing of Richard “Wayne” Lafon.
Wayne left this life on Wednesday July 14, 2021, in his home surrounded by loved ones as the
angels carried him home.
Born and raised in Blacksburg, VA, Wayne graduated from Virginia Tech with an agricultural
engineering degree and was, of course, a Hokie fan for life. He retired from Carter Machinery in
Salem, VA after 40 years as Western Operations Manager, where the legend of “Hooked on
Lafonics” was born.
Wayne’s generosity and love of family was unsurpassed. As the Patriarch, he was our role model
and rock. His many friends loved and respected him. Wayne had a deep-rooted love of music
and could always be found picking guitar over a cup of coffee, often wearing his signature
cowboy hat. Wayne was a double-lung transplant recipient at Duke University Hospital in May
2010, and we were blessed with another 11 years. He used that time to mentor others facing
lung transplants and actively served in his church, New Life Christian Ministries.
Wayne was preceded in death by his parents, Mason and Mary Kate Lafon as well as his brother Will
Left to cherish his memory are his wife and love of his life Elizabeth Lafon; son Chad Lafon, wife
Susan, son Clay Lafon; daughter Dawn Espelage (Tony); grandchildren Desire’ Moses, Sidney
Lafon, Tela Espelage and Avery Lafon; sister Mary Sutphin; brother Tommy Lafon (Jean); nieces
LaVon Benson-McKay, Katrina Carner, Kari Sutphin; nephews Patrick Lafon, Phillip Lafon, Brian
Lafon (Amy); aunt Marie Oliver; sisters-in-law Fran McColl Stewart, Mari McColl (Dan), Pat
Miller (Walt), and many close cousins.
A special Thank You to Dr. John Reynolds, the Duke University Transplant team and our
wonderful Post-Lung Transplant Coordinator Allie Blackman for their guidance and compassion
throughout Wayne’s journey. Our hearts are full from the outpouring of care and support shown
by all of our family, friends and caretakers throughout the last few months.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to New Life Christian Ministries (www.newlifecm.org)
or to Duke Health. Visit www.gifts.duke.edu/dukehealth and choose Lung Transplant Director’s Fund.
The family will receive friends Saturday July 17, 2021, from 4 pm – 7 pm at Simpson Funeral Home 5160
Peters Creek Road. Funeral services will be conducted 2:30 p.m. Sunday, July 18, 2021 at Simpson Funeral
Home by Pastor Gary Alls. Interment will follow in Blue Ridge Memorial Gardens.