Lawrence Wentzel: 1931-2023
Lawrence Wentzel, 91, of Marion, S.D., passed away on April 12, 2023 at Oakview Terrace in Freeman, S.D. A funeral service was held April 19 at Emmanuel Presbyterian Church in Marion.
Lawrence Harlan Wentzel was born Sept. 4, 1931 to Charley and Hattie (Dirksen} Wentzel, 2 1/2 miles south of Marion.
At the age of 6 his family moved to a farm six miles south and a quarter-mile east of Marion. This is where he grew to manhood. He spent his eight years of school at Pleasant Ridge Consolidated #2, with the exception of his first six weeks, which was at District #15. At the age of 18 he enlisted in the Air Force and was trained to be an aircraft propellor mechanic and an instructor. While in the service he was stationed in Texas, Illinois, Japan, The Aleutian Islands and Florida. After being discharged he returned home to the family farm and for the next three years helped his dad farm. In 1955 he married Janette Schmidt and together they had six children. In 1968 he went to work for the Army as a civilian helicopter mechanic and spent 30 months in Vietnam. After returning home he got into carpentry work and that is what he spent his remaining years doing, with the exception of a couple of years, which he spent working for his brother, Duke, in Wisconsin, as an automatic door technician. Over the years as a carpenter he worked with sons, nephews and grandsons teaching them his love for carpentry.
On April 22, 1989 he married Marlene Bender of Beaver Creek, Minn. They made their home in Marion. Marlene passed away in 2002.
At the age of 80 he retired but was always happy to help with family remodels and offer his knowledge and love for building and fixing things. He spent his retirement years watching his grandchildren participate in many sporting events, building memories with kids and grandchildren and later enjoyed spending time with his great grandchildren. Lawrence was an avid bird watcher, loved the spring and watching things come to life, gardening and playing cards with his family.
Grateful for having him in their lives are three sons: Harlan (Gail) Wentzel of Vermillion, S.D. and his daughter Danielle (Joe) Gentile and great-grandson JD, their sons Aaron, Kevin and Brian (Laura) Meyer, and great-grandchildren Brilie, Dakota and Carley; Lennis (Sally) Wentzel of Sioux Falls and son Ryan (Molly) and daughter Kristen; and Larry (Marta}) Wentzel of Marion and daughters Christina and Kylie. He is also survived by two daughters: Lanette (Steve) Koehn of Canistota, their sons Clint (Emily) and great-grandchildren Tallon, Eli and Brenna, Austin (Sarah} and great-grandchildren Brynlee, Raegan and Murphy; and Shannon (Bryan) Luke of Marion and sons Keith (Lona), great-grandsons Sawyer and Slayte, Matt (Jennifer), great-grandchildren Grace, Julia and John, Derek, Allison (Taylor) Fitts and great-grandchildren Sutton and Blakeley, Katherine (Casey) Jundt, stepdaughter Linda (Melvin) Williams, three stepsons: Michael (Pat) Bender, Raymond and Chris; brother Duke of Des Moines and sister Carol of Lennox.
Preceding Lawrence in death were his wife, Marlene; infant son Harley; parents Charley and Hattie; brothers Robert, Morris, Marvin and Clifford; sister Verna; sisters-in-law Gladys, Tina, Alma, Ester and Bev; and brothers-in-law Willard Bauerle, Dave Schoenwald and Chet Graber.