B. Jack Wendt |
was born on November 4, 1922, to William George Wendt, and Jackie Jones Wendt, and died in Richmond, Texas, on February 22, 2013, at the age of 90. He moved to Richmond from Markham, Texas, and resided there the rest of his life, while also enjoying time for many years at his ranch, the "Blue Jay", in Welder, Texas.
Both his grandparents, William G. Wendt, and Emma Koerth Wendt, were of German descent. William G. Wendt arrived in Texas in 1861, at age 12, from Germany. Emma Koerth Wendt was born in Koerth, Texas in 1859. Father, William George Wendt, born August, 1886, in Sweet Home, Texas was an active rice farmer in the Richmond area, and was a charter board member of the Fort Bend County Farm Bureau. Mother, Jackie Jones Wendt, born in Beaumont, Texas, was known for her wonderful home cooking and recipes. She was an active and prominent member of St. John's United Methodist Church in Richmond.
Jack Wendt graduated from Richmond High School in 1940 and wanted to start rice farming, however no land was available at the time, he then enrolled in Texas A & M Agricultural College. As soon as land was available, he made financial arrangements to farm, and planted his first crop in the fall of 1941. World War II started December 7, 1941, and in November, 1942, after harvesting his crop, he joined the Army Air Corps. During his three years of service he was able to maintain a financial interest in three rice crops. Upon returning to Richmond he married his high school sweetheart, Billie Harris, from Fulshear, Texas on December 20, 1947, and together they raised four daughters.
When thinking of Jack Wendt one thinks of rice. It was his life, and has been for over seventy years. He was a rice farmer and proud of it. Apart from his wife and four daughters, it was the focal point of his world. Although he planted soybeans and other small grains, and was a cattle rancher, his main interest was farming. He was a third generation rice farmer and would have planted his seventy-first rice crop in 2013. His innovative planting and harvesting methods have been the cause of many changes in the industry. His philosophy was to change with the times. Modern technology was for him an opportunity to take a chance. The success of his many years in the rice business also brought him national prominence when he was appointed to the USA Rice Council. The Council is an industry wide organization of all rice farmers, rice millers and other segments of the U.S. rice industry which conducts programs to increase both domestic and export sales of U.S. rice.
As President of the national USA Rice Council he was instrumental in establishing the Rice Foundation, gaining involvement from California in the Council, and restructuring the organization. He participated in numerous trade tours abroad, and also served as President of the International Programs Committee for the Rice Council. Jack appeared many times before committees in Washington, D. C., met with many foreign delegations, and Heads of State of foreign countries. He opened his home and farm to host local and foreign dignitaries, and traveled the world promoting U. S. rice production. Jack was also a member of the Agriculture Technical Advisory Committee for trade in grain and feed in Washington, D. C. The rice industry in the United States benefited greatly from all his efforts over the years.
Jack was appointed by Governor Dolph Briscoe to the Texas committee for Agriculture, and served on the Texas Rice Council. He was a member of the Texas Rice Legislative Group, the Texas Rice Producers Board, and was a past member of the Board of Directors of the Rice Foundation. In addition he was a past member and Trustee of the Rice Industry Coalition for the Environment (RICE), and a Trustee for the Texas Rice Research Foundation. He was Past Director for the Texas Rice Improvement Association, Past Director for the U.S. Rice Growers Association, and Past Director of the USA Rice Federation.
The Minutes reflect that Jack Wendt attended his first Fort Bend County Farm Bureau meeting on July 14, 1942, he later served as President of the organization.
He was Past Partner of the Richmond Irrigation Company, and Past Director of Needville Rice Dryer, Inc. He was a member of the Board of Directors of American Rice Incorporated, a major processing and marketing rice mill in Texas.
Because of his knowledge of agriculture, he served as an Advisory Director of the Federal Land Bank.
He served on the Lamar Consolidated School District Board from 1953 to 1968. During this time the system experienced growth and completed extensive building programs. He was elected to the Fort Bend National Bank Board in 1968, which later became a part of First City Bancorp, and is now the Richmond branch of Wells Fargo Bank. He continued to serve on the bank's Community Board.
Jack also served, until the time of his death, on the Fort Bend County Subsidence Board, and was most interested in water conservation and the result of subsidence as it affects the irrigation well farmers.
He has received numerous awards including the Fort Worth Press Conservationist of the Year Award; Rice Industry Meritorious Service Award; Fort Worth Star-Telegram Farm and Ranch Award, recognized as Texas' Best in Rice; Texas Rice Festival Honoree recognized as "An outstanding man of Texas Agriculture, contributing to the producing and promotion of the rice industry throughout the world. Texas A & M University recognized Jack Wendt by naming a Chair after him for his exemplary leadership and assistance in forming a Texas Rice Research Foundation Chair. Texas A & M and Friends of the Beaumont Rice Research Center Award recognized him for his "unselfish support to the research centers, the Texas rice industry and the people of Texas.
He was a member of St. John's United Methodist Church and served on numerous committees, including Chairman of the Board of Trustees. While serving as Chairman of the Building and Fund Raising Committee he oversaw the construction of the St. John's Fellowship Hall. This Fellowship Hall has been replaced by a larger facility which he was also instrumental in building, and which contains Wendt Hall, a large center named in honor of his mother, Jackie Jones Wendt, and his wife, Billie Harris Wendt.
There was no job too small or too big for him. In his own quiet way he was able to get things done. He was sincerely interested in people, and was a down-to-earth gentleman who you could count on for a helping hand and a kind word.
"Our Dad made every minute of his life count. We cannot imagine that he left this earthly life with any unfinished business or regrets, other than not being able to be with us, his family, anymore. Our lives have been blessed by the life that he led and the man that he was."
A father's legacy is not riches, possessions, or worldly goods of any kind; it is the way he lived, the lives he touched, the promises he kept. It is the kind of man he was and his family is proud of the heritage he gave us.
He was preceded in death by his parents; his brother, Billy Wendt, Jr.; his sisters, Ruby Lois Greenwald and Dorothy Ann Edgar.
He is survived by his wife, Billie Wendt; daughters, Evalyn Moore, Amilee Wendt, Jackie Martin and husband, Jay; Laurel Wendt and husband, Mike Phillips; grandchildren, Hope Bradberry and husband, John; Harris Lamkin and wife, Jennifer; Jaclyn Wedemeyer and husband, Stephen; Jennifer Pollock and husband, Trace; Julia Hughes and husband, Heath; great-grandchildren, Jake Bradberry, Jordan Lamkin, Jack Lamkin, and Millie Wedemeyer, and one great-great granddaughter, Kennedi Bradberry.
Services will be on Thursday, February 28, 2013, with a private family burial at 9:30 a.m., Morton Cemetery, Richmond, Texas, followed by a memorial service at 11:00 a.m., St. John's United Methodist Church, 400 Jackson Street, Richmond, Texas 77469. A reception at Fort Bend Country Club, 2627 FM 762, Richmond, Texas 77469, will be held from 12:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m after the memorial service. Visitation will be Wednesday, February 27, 2013, from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. in Wendt Hall at St. John's United Methodist Church, Richmond, Texas.
(For those wishing to view an open casket, Garmany & Carden Funeral Directors Chapel, 1201 4th Street, Rosenberg, Texas 77471 will be open from 1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. on Wednesday, February 27th for this viewing.)
Active pallbearers are Billy Greenwald, Frank Stasney, Bobby Stasney, Ronnie Stasney, Brad Ferguson, Ren Davis, Tracy Gerken, Bo Tucker, and Mike Sanchez.
Honorary pallbearers are Neil Banfield, Bert Bleil, Jack Moore, A. D. Eversole, Joe D. Robinson, Chris Seger, Lane Ward, Ron Rhemann, Glen Gilmore, Mike Phillips, Jay Martin, and Harris Lamkin.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to St. John's United Methodist Church, 400 Jackson Street, Richmond, TX 77469, Fort Bend Museum Association, 500 Houston Street, Richmond, TX 77469, or the
Published in Houston Chronicle on Feb. 27, 2013