Donald Leo Wendle, 81, of Godfrey, fortified with the sacraments of the Holy Catholic Church, was called by God to eternal rest at 1:10 a.m. Monday, March 2, 2015.
He was born on Jan. 2, 1934, in Alton, the third of five children to the late Leo Louis and Helen Virginia (Groshan) Wendle.
Following graduation from St. Mary’s Elementary School and Alton High School (Class of 1951), Donald attended Shurtleff College and began his career with Owens-Illinois (O-I) Glass Co. in Alton. By way of bus and hitchhiking, he completed night classes to earn dual associate degrees in Drafting and Engineering Design from Washington University in 1956.
On Oct. 24, 1959, Don married his beloved Janis Kathryn Miller at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Alton. She survives. In 1994, he retired from O-I as a Manufacturing Engineer at the Godfrey Machine Manufacturing facility.
His lifelong passion for golf began as a young caddy, and includes three hole-in-ones (third in April 2014). Donald shot his age several times beginning with a 69 at The Woodlands and a 71 at Emerald Greens. He was inducted into the Alton Golf Hall of Fame in 2007. His love for fishing centered on local farm ponds north of Brighton, Canada, and the Michigan UP. He and Janis enjoyed traveling to elder hostels and other attractions with friends and family throughout the U.S. and Canada. In 2002, he created detailed drawings of Robert Wadlow’s giant chair for artist Jerry McKenna, sculptor of the bronze replica that accompanies the Wadlow statue in Alton.
As a lifelong member of St. Mary’s Catholic Church and a member of the Knights of Columbus, Donald nurtured strong Christian principles and a devoted prayer life which included a daily rosary. His memory as a loving and strong role model will live on with family and friends.
Also surviving are three children; nine grandchildren; four great-grandchildren, Anthony (Tony) Wendle of Rosewood Heights with son, Lucas; Eric and Marci (Roberts) Wendle of Godfrey with children, Paige, Jayne, Peter, Maria, Monica and Thomas; Anne and Mike Schleeper of Macomb, Okla., with son, Michael, and his wife, Heather; great-grandchildren, Keyton and Kaden; son, Dustin and his wife, Elisabeth; and great-grandchildren, Caleb and Nicholas.
Preceding him in death were his parents and siblings, Virginia (Gin) White, Eugene (Gene), Gerald (Jerry) and Paul.
Visitation will be from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Wednesday, March 4, 2015, at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Alton. A funeral Mass will immediately follow at 11 a.m. Burial will be in the Upper Alton Cemetery. Don prefers Masses in lieu of flowers. Memorials may be made to The Myelodysplastic Syndromes (MDS) Foundation, The Iacocca Family Foundation (diabetes), United Cerebral Palsy or a local pro-life charity of your choice.
Elias, Kallal and Schaaf Funeral Home in Godfrey is in charge of arrangements.
Online condolences and guestbook may be found at www.eliaskallalandschaaf.com.