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Wendell H. Spencer

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Wendell H. Spencer

Winterset - Wendell Harvey Spencer, 84, of Winterset, passed away December 25, 2021, at Madison County Hospital, in the presence of his family.

Wendell was born in Winterset on March 3, 1937, to Herbert and Lois (Henkle) Spencer. His family farmed west of Winterset, near Earlham, and west of Adel.

He graduated from Adel High School in 1955 and enlisted in the U.S. Navy in October 1957. He trained as an Avionics Technician and served as a radioman with the VR-1 Transport Squadron at Naval Air Station (NAS) Patuxent River, Maryland, where he and his crewmates transported senior officials and dignitaries to meetings and engagements across the globe.

He subsequently served in the EW-13 Early Warning Squadron at NAS Argentia, Newfoundland, as a crew member on the Lockheed C-121 Constellation, the "Super Connie." He also worked as an Electronics Supervisor at Reykjavik, Iceland. His service commitment was extended due to the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Once stateside, he attended Central Technical Institute in Kansas City and received his degree in Electronics Technology. On July 24, 1964, he married Marilyn Kay McCleary in Redfield, Iowa.

A week after their wedding, Wendell and Marilyn moved to Topeka, Kansas, where they raised their family. Wendell worked for 29 years in the Research department of the Menninger Foundation, a psychiatric research and treatment organization.

Wendell's love of history and Iowa brought them back to Winterset in 1994, when he accepted the position as Director of the Madison County Historical Museum. Throughout his 18-year tenure there, he maintained many lifelong friendships and delighted in meeting new people. He was an entertaining and warm-hearted storyteller.

Wendell had a lifelong interest in bluebirds, built and gave away bluebird nesting boxes, and thoroughly enjoyed being outdoors. His skill in woodworking enabled him to restore antiques and create new keepsakes. He and Marilyn shared their love of rose growing and gardening, and took sincere pleasure in visits with family, friends and neighbors. He was a member of American Legion Post 184 in Winterset.

Wendell is preceded in death by his grandparents, James and Idaletta (Mekemson) Spencer and Simeon and Bertha (Oldham) Henkle; his parents, Herbert and Lois Spencer, and his sister, Esther Edwards. He is survived by his loving wife of 57 years, Marilyn; children Alyce Leard (Dave), Julie Spencer (Mark Bernal), and Matthew Spencer (Alecia); grandchildren Dane Peddycoart (Morgan), Devin Spencer, Leanna Spencer and Madison Bernal; great-grandchildren Greyer Peddycoart and Navy Quinn Peddycoart; his sister Wilma Heyn, and nieces and nephews.

A Celebration of Life service is planned for Saturday, January 1st, 2022, at 10:30 a.m. at Winterset Community Church, 113 S. 2nd Street, with a luncheon to follow. Those unable to attend may share their condolences at Burial will be held at a later date at the Winterset Cemetery. Memorial contributions may be directed to EveryStep Hospice, Winterset Community Church or American Legion.

Posted online on December 27, 2021

Published in Dallas County News