Don Wenz, 74 passed on 19 October at home north of Falls City, NE. Don was born May 21, 1943 in the Barada area to Fred and Gertrude (Mez) Wenz, and lived there most of his rich life.
He graduated from Falls City High in 1960 and married Mary Ann Thornton of Hiawatha, KS. They were happily married and raised three children and seven grandchildren that he richly treasured.
He served in the US Navy from 1961-1964 and was honorably discharged. He enlisted at age 17, and spent nine weeks in boot camp at San Diego Navy Training Center. He served on the USS Wexford County (LST-1168), which sent him to Hong Kong, Philippines, Hawaii, Taiwan, Caroline Islands, Mariana Islands and Guam. As his ship crossed the equator, he proudly went from pollywog status to Shellback. After his discharge, he used his Navy trade as a welder in Leavenworth, KS.
He returned to Falls City and managed Falls City Pet Food. He then went to work at Wenger Mfg in Sabetha, KS. His employment with Wenger entailed extensive international travel. He made service trips to Canada, Zimbabwe, India, France, Mexico, Brazil, Chile, Argentina, Indonesia, Hong Kong, China, Malaysia, Thailand, South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Norway, Yugoslavia and the Philippines. He retired after 20 years with Wenger in 2000. After his career at Wenger, Don rekindled his love of welding by taking jobs in and around the Falls City area for local farmers and continued managing the family land.
He was a member of St. Paul Evangelical Lutheran Church (20th & Towle), United Federation of Welders Union, The Reformers Car Club, The Rulo River Boat Club, and Falls City Elks Club. Don was a man of strong, private faith, loved his country and family. Once a friend of Don’s, always a friend.
He had a way to embrace his children’s friends and made them feel welcome and at home day or night on Crook Street and out on the hill with the Wenzes. He worked hard and played hard.
Don is survived by his wife Mary Ann; his three children, Terry and wife Laura of Yorba Linda, CA, Melissa and husband Jeff Slagle stationed at Wright-Patterson AFB in OH, and Tom of Waverly, NE. His grandchildren, Joe and Rachel Slagle of Omaha, Kara and Emma Wenz of Yorba Linda, CA, Paxton, Emery and Briar Wenz of Waverly, NE.
He was preceded in death by his parents.
His funeral was held Monday, October 23, 2017 at 10:30 AM at St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church (20th & Towle) with Reverend Andrew Charanak officiating.
Internment took place at Steele Cemetery.
Military gravesite honors were performed by the Falls City Ceremonial Honor Guard.