Obituary: Theodore Wendell Rempel

Theodore Wendell Rempel was born to Theodore and Selma Jost Rempel on Oct. 21, 1938, in Hillsboro.

An explosion at a filling station took the life of Wendell’s father before Wendell was born.

When Wendell was 18 months old, his mother married Arnold Reimer in Kansas. Wendell grew up on the family farm near Goessel, where they grew wheat and raised dairy cattle. The family attended First Mennonite Church of Goessel. When Wendell was 9 years old, Arnold sold the farm to his brother, and the family moved to Dinuba, Calif., where the family farm consisted of vineyards and tree-fruit.

The family attended First Mennonite Church of Reedley, Calif. Wendell was baptized on May 24, 1953, by the Rev. Aaron J. Epp and became a member of that church.

Wendell is a graduate of Reedley High School, attended Reedley College and graduated from Bethel College in North Newton.

Between his junior and senior years at Bethel, Wendell married Janice McDonald on June 12, 1959, in Fresno, Calif.. They had three children, Lori Regier, Carl Rempel and Michelle Roman. After his graduation from Bethel, Wendell and Jan moved to Elkhart, Ind., where he attended Mennonite Biblical Seminary and graduated with a bachelor of divinity degree. Wendell accepted a call to be pastor at First Mennonite Church in Hutchinson. They were in Hutchinson four years when Wendell accepted the call to serve as associate pastor (with Henry A. Fast) at Eden Mennonite Church in rural Moundridge. He remained there until he was recruited to be dean of students at Bethel College, a position he held for six years.

In the early 1990s, his wife Jan was diagnosed with a degenerative disease. Wendell cared for Jan throughout a lengthy illness before she died in December 2003. With the help of daytime caregivers, he was able to keep her home until her death.

Wendell retired in January 2006 in order to work on his golf game and pursue other interests. In May of 2006 Wendell and Aleta Berghold Wedel were married at Hope Mennonite Church in Wichita. They made Reedley, Calif., their home until Wendell was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in spring 2013. They then moved to North Newton in October 2013.

Wendell died Saturday, Sept. 10, 2016, at a nursing home in Newton, due to complications with Alzheimer’s.

He was preceded in death by his parents Theodore Rempel and Selma Jost Rempel Reimer, stepfather Arnold C. Reimer, and his first wife Janice Rempel.

He leaves behind his wife Aleta Rempel, son Carl Rempel (June), daughters Lori Regier (Myron) and Michelle Roman (Billy), stepsons Jay Wedel, Jon Wedel and Jed Wedel (Holly), 11 grandchildren from combined families, stepbrother Stan Reimer of Pratt, stepsisters Karen Neufeld (Ray) of Fresno, Calif., and Delores Plenert (Wayne) of Dawson Creek, B.C., Canada; and many friends and extended family.

Memorial service will be at 2 p.m. Friday, Sept. 16, at Bethel College Mennonite Church in North Newton.

Memorials are suggested to Sierra View Homes or Bethel College in care of Petersen Funeral Home, 215 N. Main, Newton, KS 67114.

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