Chief Human Resources Officer Tawanda Johnson sent the following message to the campus community on May 13, 2024. – Ed.

Dear Colleagues,  

With sadness, I write to share the news that Norman Wayne Farnsworth, field technician in William & Mary Information Technology, passed away on May 6, 2024, after 34 years of service to the university.  

Wayne was born in Parkersburg, WV, one of nine children. Wayne began his professional career in the United States Marine Corps, where he served as a cook for three years. He was extremely proud of his service and the work ethic that it instilled. He moved to Williamsburg around 1990 with his brother.  

Wayne’s service at W&M began as a contractor. Years before a computer network would arrive, Bell Atlanticom was contracted to install the original telephone system. Installing some of the first underground cables on campus, Wayne played a pivotal role in modernizing the university’s communications infrastructure.  

“Wayne and I spent endless hours and long weekends installing, troubleshooting, and maintaining that original phone system,” recalls former colleague Don Hensley. “He was a worker!”  

After two years as a contractor, Wayne became a state employee in 1992. He continued to dedicate his time to the university’s underground fiber optic and copper wiring. Along with his trusty state pickup truck, Wayne knew every inch of the university’s network backbone. An important part of this job required regular marking (painting) of underground infrastructure around construction sites, resulting in his white tennis shoes inevitably turning shades of orange as he worked to protect the campus network connectivity. Even when nobody was looking, Wayne always took pride in his work.  

Among his many hobbies, Wayne enjoyed playing pool, spending time outdoors, fishing, cooking, gardening, and listening to music. He worked tirelessly for his family and took pride in his daughters’ accomplishments. He was proud of his vegetable garden and never saw a Pontiac GTO that he didn’t want in his driveway. His storytelling was legendary. “We all heard the stories so many times, all it takes is a mention to have us laughing again,” explained colleague Jeff Jolly.  

Wayne is survived by his wife, Norma Farnsworth, daughters Ashlie Farnsworth and Samantha Farnsworth, and numerous extended family members.

My deepest sympathies go to Wayne’s family, friends, and co-workers.    


Tawanda Johnson 

Chief Human Resources Officer