William Frank “Bill” Wenz, 83, of Crete, went home to the Lord on Tuesday, Dec. 30, 2014 at the age of 83 after a courageous battle with cancer. He was born March 22, 1931 in Falls City to Charles and Lydia (Hecht) Wenz, the ninth of nine siblings.
After being raised on the family 80, where he developed his life-long love of farming, he graduated from Falls City High School in 1948. On Oct. 11, 1950 he married his other, and primary, life-long love, Jane Anne Timothy. He began his life of employment at the Falls City movie theater, working his way from usher to manager.
Bill enlisted and served overseas in the 5th Division during the Korean War and upon returning, after a time of employment with the City of Omaha, established a career in animal by-products.
Bill and Jane raised eight children and moved to Crete from Union, NE, when he and partners purchased Swingle’s and established Midland By-Products in 1973. He owned and operated Midland, and served for a time as President of the Nebraska Renderers Association, until divesting in 1994 and embarking on a variety of business ventures. During his years in Crete, Bill was active at various times in The Chamber of Commerce, Sertoma, The Crete Area Development Committee, SENDD, CISDA and SCAT. He served on the Saline County Planning and Zoning Board and for 10 years worked diligently as a Saline County Commissioner.
While remaining active in civic organizations and local government he also served many years as a CAMC Foundation board member, sat on the Board of Pinnacle Bank and was a board member, elder and founding member of Crete Berean Church. He was a generous supporter of a variety of charitable organizations and foundations.
Throughout his life, Bill actively pursued many interests, yet his focus consistently remained on his family. He enjoyed raising cattle, improving his farm ground, a friendly poker game with colleagues, lively discussion with friends, traveling, and an occasional spin of the roulette wheel. Above all though, he enjoyed and treasured family gatherings, filled with good food, horseshoes, story-telling, washers, laughter and shared love. Over many decades Bill followed and cheered his children and grandchildren as they participated in softball, volleyball, cheerleading, golf, soccer, basketball and football. (He even made it through a few dance and piano recitals!)
Bill was preceded in death by his parents; siblings, Edwin Wenz, Elizabeth Schneiderwind, Albert Wenz (died in France in WWII), Lena Mez, Lily Schulenberg, Elmer Wenz and Fred Wenz; and by a son, Timothy Wenz.
He is survived by his wife, Jane Wenz, of Crete; and children Kathleen Wenz (Curt McKean), of Omaha, Bill Wenz, Jr., of Dorchester, James (Mary) Wenz, of Palmyra, Laura (Gary) Gammel, of Crete, Doug (Debbie) Wenz, of Crete, Jeff (Tammy) Wenz, of Crete and Shari (Richard) Tretheway, of Lincoln; grandchildren, Alysia, Doug, Sarah, Michael, Jennifer, Anna, Jared, Blake, Rebekah, Dylan, Emily, Amanda, Caleb, Will and Lydia; six great-grandchildren; and sister, Esther Williams, of Bellevue.
Visitation will be from 4-8 p.m. Friday, Jan. 2, at Kuncl Funeral Home, Crete. Funeral Services will be held at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 3, at Heckman Auditorium at Doane College in Crete. There will be a reception at the Doane cafeteria following the services. Interment will be at Blue Valley Cemetery in Saline County. Memorials have been established to the People’s City Mission and the Crete Area Medical Center. Condolences may be left online at kunclfh.com