JOHN WESSEL - BRATTLEBORO - Johannes "John" Wessel of Brattleboro died Jan. 7, 2014, at age 91. He was born in Zoeterwoude, Holland, on Nov. 15, 1922, to Willem and Aagje (van Vliet) Wessel. At age 13, he started working for van Leeuwen Pipe Organ Company in Leiden, a profession that he stayed with throughout his life until his retirement in 2002. During World War II, he spent years successfully evading the occupying German troops who were actively searching for young Dutch men to work in their factories. In 1946, he married Sophia A. van Hoeven. The family immigrated to Brattleboro in 1954 after he was invited to work for the Estey Organ Company. After Estey closed, he continued building, restoring, repairing and maintaining pipe organs throughout Vermont and much of New England. In addition to maintaining most of the organs in Brattleboro, he moved Estey Opus #1 from its original home in the former Methodist Church on Elliott Street to the new church on Putney Road, and built the organ in St. Michael's Catholic Church on Walnut Street. Survivors are his wife, Sophia; a son, Willem Wessel of West Chesterfield, N.H.; daughters, Nellie Hamilton of Hinsdale, N.H., Trixie Stinebring of Spofford, N.H., Joy Trigg of Williston, and Rose Wessel of Cummington, Mass. He also leaves nine grandchildren; three great-grandchildren; and one great-great-grandchild. According to the family's wishes there will be no public services. To sign an online register book with messages of condolence please visit www.atamaniuk.com. Arrangements are under the direction of the Atamaniuk Funeral Home. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions in Mr. Wessel's name may be made to Rescue Inc., P.O. Box 593, Brattleboro, VT 05302.
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Published in The Burlington Free Press on Jan. 11, 2014