Wayne really was a man for all seasons. He was a writer and editor, and turned those abilities into his three passions, aviation, the automobile and travel.
He was the West Coast editor of Mechanix Illustrated, and as a pilot received all the plum aviation assignments. He was the first civilian to fly nap of the earth in the Sikorsky Helicopter. He flew second seat in the Marine Corps Harrier Jet. He had many airplanes but his favorite was his Pressurized P-210.
He and Elena flew all over the States, Canada and Mexico. “Wheels up at Sun up” he’d always say, and off they’d go. He also had a public relations business and among his clients were Chevrolet, Rolls Royce, Warner Bros, and Helicopter Association of America. He and Elena shared a love of history and segued that interest into a video business, specializing in World War II, and historical automotive films.
Wayne was most proud that he was responsible for 400 saves of such badly deteriorated World War II films, at the National Archives, that without his support, they could no longer be projected, Reader’s Digest bought much of their video library, repackaged it, re-edited it and then distributed it under their own name.
He was a member of the Television Academy and sat on the Comedy Committee for many years. He was also a member of the Society of American Travel Writers and he and Elena traveled the world writing articles for Nissan Discovery, the magazine he edited. He also freelanced writing articles for many other travel magazines.
He was the head writer on the old Mobile Economy Run. He wrote for General Aviation News, Plane and Pilot, and host of other aviation and automotive magazines.
He and Elena enjoyed collaborating, abridging novels for Soundelux Audio publishing company. That was the most fun. He was a QB, and a life member of the Magic Castle.
Wayne lived a full and active life and had experiences one could only dream of. He took all his accomplishments in stride for he was truly a modest man, of great natural intelligence, with a wicked sense of humor.
He leaves his wife, Elena, his sister Pamela Nichols, his stepsons Arthur and Lon Bender, who he loved as his own sons, grandchildren Kyle Rudolf, Britany Childers, Chasen Bender, Gray Bender, Jade Bender, Leanna Kontos and Christpher Kontos.
He is deeply missed by all. Donations may be sent to the charity of your choice.
— Family of Wayne Thoms