I had the absolute honor of joining Wayne Neyens for his 100th birthday celebration.
Much can and has been said about his amazing designs, sharp engineering mind, and beautiful games - more than I can articulate here.
Wayne is a marvel in more ways than one:
1) Building games as quickly as possible to try to keep all the factory workers on the line. People mean a lot to Wayne and it shows.
2) A troubleshooting master - his understanding of the circuits he designed is still as sharp as can be.
3) A centenarian
4) A true gentleman, humble, always kind and helpful to all around him.
5) An excellent pinball player (yes, even at 100 years old!)
One small story that means a lot to me from the celebration -
The afternoon before his birthday, we gathered to play his beautiful Spirit of '76 (if you are not aware of that story, please, listen to the interview with Wayne at http://foramusementonly.libsyn.com/episode-392-interview-with-wayne-neyens-01-18-2017).
The top qualifier got to play against the man himself! Friendly competition ensued and I was able to make a high score after several attempts. The suggestion was made to take the top three finishers and face off against the master. This was a once-in-a-lifetime experience - to play pinball with -the- Wayne Neyens. He got double my score! It was incredible to watch him play.
Wayne has given me a gift that I can never repay. His games have stood the test of time, his kind spirit and friendly nature are an inspiration.
Thank you, Wayne, for everything you have done and continue to do for pinball, and for the world.