On Wednesday, Jan. 20, Dinah Wayne, champion of technical education and visionary of Flowery Branch, died after complications with COVID-19.
Alex Wayne, Dinah’s son, said she was 77 years old and married to his father, Alan Wayne, for 53 years.
“She was an amazing mother, and was so dedicated to my brother (Daren Wayne) and I,” he said. “She supported us, promoted us and made us know beyond a shadow of a doubt how much we were loved.”
Alex said she served as an “even better” grandmother, going by the name of “Grandi” to her six grandchildren.
“My wife and I would joke that they’d (Alan and Dinah) cancel dinner with the president just to take care of our kids,” he said.
Dinah Wayne, who was originally from Tampa, Florida, moved in 1969 with her husband from Alaska to live in Flowery Branch. Although she was a transplant from Florida, Alex Wayne said his mother was wholeheartedly dedicated to helping the Flowery Branch community prosper.
“She has a sign in her house that says, ‘bloom where you’re planted,’” he said. “It certainly describes her.”
Dinah Wayne served as a longtime member of both the Technical College System of Georgia board — representing the 9th Congressional District — and Lanier Technical College Foundation Board of Trustees. She also spearheaded the restoration of Flowery Branch’s historic depot, headed the city’s Better Hometown Community program for over 10 years and founded the Friends of the Depot Inc.
Alex Wayne said his mother was actively involved in a charity called Coats for Kids, which donates winter jackets to underprivileged children in Hall County. Up until December 2020, he said she volunteered her time with the charity, even delivering the coats herself.
Kit Dunlap, president and CEO of the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce, said she has known Dinah Wayne for over 30 years, and was shocked to hear of her friend’s death Wednesday morning.
“Dinah was one of those who was steady and a great leader,” Dunlap said. “She was always your friend, and when you spoke to her, she had the biggest smile. We just lost a really good lady.”
Doug Carter, president and broker of Don Carter Realty in Gainesville, served on the Technical College System of Georgia board with Dinah Wayne. Carter described his longtime friend as a “gentle soul, but a force to be reckoned with” when it came to her dedication to her family, the community and Georgia’s technical schools.
“She was a terrific board member, always present and always so prepared and wanting to give back to the state,” he said. “She was very supportive of Lanier Tech.”
Ray Perren, former president of Lanier Tech, said pieces of Dinah Wayne’s legacy are clearly visible in the Hall County community. When Lanier Tech constructed its new campus, which opened in 2019, Perren said she made a point to preserve the history of the old school through installing artwork.
One of these pieces, called “Partners in Progress,” involves a stainless steel statue of three figures standing together, which can be seen near the front of campus. Perren said the art is a replica of the old statue that resided on the original Lanier Tech campus in the ‘60s.
“That was a direct result of Dinah wanting to capture the legacy of Lanier Tech and reteach its history,” he said.
Lanier Tech also is home to a mural that tells the history of the college from its groundbreaking in 1964, to opening the new campus in 2019. Perren said Dinah Wayne initiated the project.
“Dinah was deeply committed to technical education across Georgia,” he said. “She will be greatly missed by the technical college, as well as Hall County.”