Jack Wendt Think of Jack Wendt and one thinks of rice. Rice 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 whole world. Although he planted soybeans and other small grains, and ran a fine herd of cattle, his main interest was rice. 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. 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 industry is proof enough of his leadership abilities and that hard work does pay off.
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Jack was at home on a combine in the middle of a thousand acres of rice, and in front of a prestigious group in Washington, D.C. He traveled all over the world spreading the good word about rice, and could relate to the man hand-planting in a rice-paddy in China as well as the Heads of State of foreign countries. Proudly, he represented the rice industry, and opened his home and farm countless times to host local and foreign dignitaries. The rice industry in the United States benefited greatly from all his efforts over the years.
Born on November 4, 1922 in Markham, Texas to parents William George Wendt, and Jackie Jones Wendt. Jack graduated from Richmond High School in 1940. He wanted to start farming rice but land was not available so he enrolled in Texas A & M College. After he finished his second semester in 1941 he received land to start farming on his own for the 1942 crop year. Financial arrangements were made by him in the fall of 1941 to plant his first crop. World War II started December 7, 1941. In November of 1942, after finishing his rice crop, he entered the
Army Air Force. During his three years in the service he was able to maintain a financial interest in three rice crops. He married his high school sweetheart, Billie Harris Wendt on December 20, 1947, and together they raised four daughters.
Jack was a member of the Agriculture Technical Advisory Committee for trade in grain and feed in Washington, D.C. Served on Governor Dolph Briscoe's committee for Agriculture. He also was Past President of the national USA Rice Council and Past President of the Texas Rice Council. Past President of the International Programs Committee for the USA Rice Council. Was a member of the Texas Rice Legislative Group, the Texas Rice Producers Board, and a past member of the Board of Directors of the Rice Foundation. Past member and Trustee of the Rice Industry Coalition for the Environment (RICE).
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.
Jack also served on the Fort Bend County Subsidence Board, and was most interested in water conservation and the effect 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 in recognition of 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.
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. He 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; daughter Evalyn Moore; daughter Amilee Wendt; daughter Jackie Martin and husband, Jay; daughter Laurel Wendt and husband Mike Phillips; also by 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 grandchild, Kennedi Bradberry.
Services will be on Thursday, February 28, 2013, with a private family burial at Morton Cemetery, Richmond, Texas 77469, followed by a memorial service at St. John's United Methodist Church, 400 Jackson Street, Richmond, Texas 77469, at 11:00 a.m., followed by a reception at Fort Bend Country Club, 2627 FM 762, Richmond, Texas 77469, from 12:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. 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 77469.
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. 24, 2013
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