Emil Herbert Wenger, age 77 years, was known by Herb to his many friends. The fifth child of Emil and Amelia Leuth Wenger was born Dec. 28, 1930, at Milltown, S.D., and passed away, due to a tree falling accident, Sept. 17, 2008, on the family farm south of Houston, Mo. A similar accident had taken the life of his father many years earlier.
Herb is preceded in death by his parents and one granddaughter, Sarah Sue Olsen; one brother, Robert; and one sister, Ramona Myers.
He is survived by wife, Shirley, of Houston; two daughters, Connie Olsen and husband Ole of Dyer, Ind., and Pam Ragain and husband Gaylord of Houston; three sons, James Wenger of Bucyrus, Harold Wenger and wife Jennifer of Houston and Kenny Wenger of Clay Center, Kans.; six grandchildren, Sheila Olsen and husband Jeremy Brown, Jennifer Wenger Guthrie, Jason Wenger, Stephanie Olsen Sandoval, Ashley Wenger and Skyler Wenger; eight great-grandchildren; and three brothers, Ronald Wenger of Edgar Springs, Mo., Marvin Wenger of St. Louis, Mo., and Lawrence Wenger and wife Alice of Douglasville, Ga.; two sisters, Marie Clemmons of Chicago, Ill., and Nina Gaines and husband Carl of Smyra, Tenn.; many nieces, nephews, friends and relatives.
Herb moved with his family to Bloodland, Mo., at the age of 4, traveling in a Model A car, sharing the seating with six other people. With Fort Leonard Wood buying the Bloodland Community, they along with many friends moved to Licking, Mo., purchasing a 100-acre farm where they made it a home for many years.
Herb and a friend went to Indiana Harbor, Ind., to go to work for Inland Steel Co. on the steamship Wilfred Sykes, April 16, 1950. Walking along the dock, the little boy from the country said “Damon, where is the boat?” Damon Ray said, “you are walking along it.” Herb looked up and had never seen such a huge boat.
This job required working from March through December with no vacation. This country boy with an eighth grade education and great determination and perseverance climbed the ladder obtaining his master’s licenses “Captain” to operate any gross tonnage vessel on all the Great Lakes in 1975. He attended Lake Carriers School many winters in Green Bay, Wisc., Buffalo, N.Y., Toledo, Ohio, and Chicago, Ill., receiving his Federal Communication Commission license, radar simulator licenses and first aid certification.
Herb, with his brother, Ronald Wenger, and a few others volunteered to help rescue men off the Henry Steibrenner that had sunk in a big storm, having a “Citation for Bravery” presented to them that also is displayed to this day on the Wilfred Sykes that he and his sons, Jim and Harold, have also sailed on.
February 1951, he met the one and only girl he intended to spend the rest of his life with. On Feb. 23, 1952, Herb and Shirley were married at Hardy, Ark., and left the following day for Indiana Harbor, Ind., making that part of Indiana and Illinois their home for about 20 years, moving back to Missouri in June of 1970. Herb retired in 1982 after a serious fall that occurred on the boat.
Herb and Shirley have been active throughout their married life in church. While attending a church service at First Baptist Church in Hammond, Ind., a sermon delivered by Jack Hyles entitled “Does your Fig Tree Have Any Fruit on it,” Herb realized his was not producing and gave his life to the Lord that day. Brother Kendall Ford baptized him in 1972 at Summersville, Mo. On Oct. 15, 1989, Herb was ordained as a deacon in Ozark Baptist Church.
Herb and Shirley loved to travel and research genealogy. They were also fortunate enough to make it to Jerusalem, Israel, Jordan, Switzerland, Greece and Petra as well as visiting several states. They also enjoyed spending time with family and friends.
Herb’s favorite hobbies were hunting and fishing. He loved to coon hunt and could hardly wait for deer season when family and friends would come to hunt. He would spend many happy hours in the woods listening to all the wildlife and gathering mushrooms and blackberries.
Herb and Shirley have had a rich full life for almost 58 years together. Their many happy memories are when the family was all together. He was looking forward to the next grandson to arrive in a few short weeks, and we know he is listening to Sarah Sue play the piano now.
He will be missed by all who knew and loved him, but we know he is enjoying the beauty of heaven and is rejoicing in the presence of the One he has so long desired to meet.
Memorials may be made to Ozark Cemetery or Texas County Gideons. Online condolences may be sent to www.evansfh.com
Services were 11 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 20, at the Ozark Baptist Church. Bro. Ed Hamilton, Bro. Gordon Rhodes and Bro. Kendall Ford officiated. Burial was in the Ozark Cemetery under the direction of Evans Funeral Home. Pallbearers were James Wenger, Harold Wenger, Kenneth Wenger, Lawrence Wenger, Daryl Olsen, Gaylord Ragain, Jared Smith, Tom Herndon; honorary pallbearers: Jeremy Brown, Brian Sandoval, Steve Gaines, Robert Wenger, Carl Gaines and Marvin Wenger.