Wendell, the only son of seven children, graduated from high school in 1952 and served in the Army from 1954-1956. During this period, Wendell was stationed in Germany where he married his high school sweetheart, Helen Gregory. This time in Germany planted seeds of wanderlust that defined their professional lives.
In 1966, Wendell was hired as a school principal by DoDDS and began a 26-year overseas odyssey. For years in Okinawa, four years in Germany, three years in the Philippines, three years in Japan, and finally finishing his career with 12 years at various locations in Germany before retiring to New Mexico in 1992.
Wendell was a devoted husband, father, and grandfather until his death. He is survived by his wife Helen, son Greg (wife Patti and son Christopher), son Nick (wife Irene and sons Benjamin and Wilton), and daughter Julie Panel (husband Mike and son Matthew).
At heart, Wendell was never the “small-town boy” into which he was born. Rather, he was a wanderer and explorer as he discovered when his Army troopship landed in Bremerhaven, Germany in 1954. From that time, until his death, Wendell longed to, and did, travel to see and experience exotic locations and new things, never content in one place for too long.
Wendell’s ashes, along with the ashes of their beloved dog of 17 years, Pete, will be scattered in a beautiful and secluded favorite location in the Jemez Mountains. The Mesilla Valley Hospice in Las Cruces, New Mexico made Wendell’s final days comfortable and peaceful.
The world is less better with Wendell’s passing.