In honor of Wayne Stenehjem

It was with a heavy heart that I went out for these photos tonight. The state has suffered a tragic loss with the death of Wayne Stenehjem. The capitol windows were adorned with a blue line and the number 5, in accordance with his license plate number (the governor has 1, lieutenant governor 2, and so on).

I’m certain there are thousands of people like me who have considered Wayne a friend…not a close one, but a friend who I’d greet with a smile every time I saw him, who invited me to take sunset photos from his back yard, who actually inspired me with some of his photos of the capitol. It still doesn’t seem real that he has passed so unexpectedly. When I got to this point I remembered that the last time I took a photo from this angle it was to try to replicate a photo Wayne had posted on his Facebook feed.

It’s fitting that the capitol windows would commemorate such a respected public servant, a guy who loved North Dakota and its citizens. It was Attorney General Stenehjem who asked lawmakers to support the idea in 2017, when it was proposed in Senate Concurrent Resolution 4015.

Since 2006 I’ve been eagerly dashing to the capitol at various times of the year to capture displays in the windows of the tower. I wasn’t so eager tonight. It’s heartbreaking for North Dakota, and Wayne’s family in particular, to lose such a truly great guy. I couldn’t miss it, though..he’s a historic figure and leaves a legacy of integrity and kindness we all should hope to possess. I’ll miss you, Wayne.

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