Wendell G. Rayburn, 87

Educational administrator

Opinion: Obituaries

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Wendell G. Rayburn Sr., Ed.D, 87, died in his sleep on Dec. 27, 2016 at his home in Oak Park. Born in Detroit on May 20, 1929, Dr. Rayburn was vice president, secretary-treasurer and senior associate of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) in Washington D.C. from 1996-2006. In retirement, he remained a director of the AASCU Pension Center for Professional Development. 

Dr. Rayburn held successful presidencies at Savannah State College (1980-1988) in Savannah, Georgia, and Lincoln University (1988-1996) in Jefferson City, Missouri. At Savannah State College, he oversaw the implementation of the Georgia Board of Regents' mandatory desegregation plan. A former academic dean at the University of Louisville, he also held senior-level positions at the University of Detroit. He served as a facilitator and faculty member of AASCU New Presidents and Experienced Presidents academies. 

A former science teacher and administrator for the Detroit Public Schools, he had a special understanding of teacher education and program development for minority and disadvantaged students. He was a Presidential appointee to the Board of International Food and Agriculture Development (BIFAD), the Board of U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and chair of the Missouri Council on Public Higher Education, the first to serve two consecutive terms. 

In 1993, he received the Distinguished Alumni Award from the Wayne State University Alumni Association. A U.S. Army veteran, Korea, he was a board member of the Rotary Club of Oak Park-River Forest and former president of the Jefferson City and Savannah Rotary Clubs. In Oak Park, he also served as a board member of the Ernest Hemingway Foundation and Grace Episcopal Church. 

Wendell Rayburn was the husband of Gloria A. Rayburn; the father of Mark (Eland Tooley) Williams, Rhonda Rayburn and Wendell G. (Terrie) Rayburn Jr.; "G-pa" of Taylor, Carter and Sydney Rayburn and Nia Nau; the brother of Lynette Payne and Charles (Martha) Rayburn; and the uncle, cousin and friend of many. He was a mentor to many and will be remembered as a warm, kind and loving man. 

Visitation will be held on Saturday, Dec. 31, from 9:30 a.m. until time of Requiem Eucharist at 11 a.m. at Grace Episcopal Church, 924 Lake St., Oak Park, followed by interment at Concordia Cemetery in Forest Park. 

Donations may be made to the Rotary Foundation, www.Rotary.org.

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Jerry Sjostrom from Oak Park  

Posted: December 30th, 2016 3:04 PM

I had the privilege and pleasure of serving with Wendell on the Rotary Board and got to know him after he and Gloria moved to Oak Park. Wendell was a gentleman through and through, really one of the nicest and most distinguished persons I have ever known. We all have such great respect for this man and will miss him. Condolences to Gloria and all his family

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