Theodore Wendell Rempel was born to Theodore and Selma Jost Rempel on October 21, 1938 in Hillsboro, Kansas.
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, California where the family farm would now consist of vineyards and tree-fruit.
The family attended First Mennonite Church of Reedley, California. Wendell was baptized on May 24, 1953 by 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, Kansas.
Between his junior and senior years at Bethel, Wendell married Janice McDonald on June 12, 1959 in Fresno, California. They had 3 children Lori Regier, Carl Rempel, and Michelle Roman. After his graduation from Bethel, Wendell and Jan moved to Elkhart, Indiana where he attended Mennonite Biblical Seminary and graduated with a Bachelor of Divinity. Wendell accepted a call to be pastor at First Mennonite Church in Hutchinson, Kansas. They were in Hutchinson 4 years when Wendell accepted the call to serve as associate pastor (with Henry A. Fast) at Eden Mennonite Church rural Moundridge, Kansas. He remained there until he was recruited to be Dean of Students at Bethel College, a position he held for 6 years.
Wendell and his family returned to Reedley, California in August, 1976. Wendell served as Interim Pastor at First Mennonite Church, Reedley. In the fall of 1977 he accepted the position of Administrator for Sierra View Homes where he served for 10 years before accepting a position as Health Services Administrator at the Samarkand in Santa Barbara, California. Wendell subsequently returned to Sierra View Homes where he ultimately served a total of 23 years during his 2 terms at the facility.
In the early 1990’s, 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, Kansas. They made Reedley, California their home until Wendell was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease in spring 2013. They then moved to North Newton, Kansas in October of 2013 to be closer to their 6 children and 11 grandchildren, all of whom live in Kansas.
Wendell enjoyed playing and watching all sports, singing in choirs, and was passionate about his roses and landscaping. He had a camera with him always — taking pictures and creating slide shows. Family and friends were very important to Wendell. He made many trips to Kansas to visit friends and spend time with his grandchildren, watching their many activities including choirs, ensembles, ballet, and athletic competitions. Wendell was an active member in First Mennonite Church of Reedley serving in many leadership roles.
Wendell died September 10, 2016 at a nursing home in Newton, Kansas due to complications with Alzheimer’s. He is preceded in death by his parents Theodore Rempel and Selma Jost Rempel Reimer, step father 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), step sons Jay Wedel, Jon Wedel, and Jed Wedel (Holly); 11 grandchildren from combined families; step brother Stan Reimer of Pratt Kansas; step sisters Karen Neufeld (Ray) of Fresno, California and Delores Plenert (Wayne) of Dawson Creek B.C. Canada; and many friends and extended family.
Memorial service will be 2:00 p.m. Friday September 16, 2016 at Bethel College Mennonite Church in North Newton, Kansas
Memorials are suggested to Sierra View Homes or Bethel College in care of Petersen Funeral Home 215 North Main Newton, Kansas 67114