SOUTHAMPTON - James J. Wentzel, Sr., 89, died Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2014, in his Southampton home, with his family at his side.
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He was born Jan. 9, 1925, in Hatfield, the son of the late Fredrick J. and Margaret Brehm Wentzel. He attended local schools in Hatfield ,and graduated from Northampton High School with the class of 1942.
James was a World War II Army Air Force Veteran serving as a Flight Maintenance Gunner. He flew 50 missions over PO Valley, Apennines and Central Europe, Balkans, South France and Germany in a B-24 Liberator as a top turret gunner. He received the Air Medal with two oak leaf clusters and the European-African-Middle Eastern Theater Campaign Ribbon with seven battle stars. He was discharged with the rank of T. Sgt.
James was a postal employee in Florence and Northampton, retiring after 28 years in 1985. He was a member of the Florence VFW Post 8006, a member of the former Sacred Heart Church in Easthampton, and now Our Lady of the Valley Parrish. He was a member of the National Active And Retired Federal Employees 0484 (NARFE 0484) in Ludlow.
During his spare time James was an avid carpenter making many pieces of furniture for family and friends. He also enjoyed gardening and landscaping. His most favored destination was Cape Cod where he spent much time with his family.
James is survived by his wife, the former Helen Niedbalski; two sons, James J. Wentzel, Jr., and his wife Sandra of Goshen, and Gregory F. Wentzel and his wife Mary-Jo of Virginia; one daughter, Sheila A. Wentzel of Brewster; five grandchildren, Justin, Lauren, Nicole, Melissa and Jeremy; four great-grandchildren; and several nieces and nephews.
He was predeceased by a brother Francis Wentzel.
The funeral with military honors will be Tuesday, Aug. 19, at 9 a.m. from the Mitchell Funeral Home, 15 Park St., followed by a Mass of Christian Burial in Our Lady of the Valley Parish at 10 a.m., both of Easthampton. Burial will follow at St Mary's Cemetery in Northampton. Friends may call at the funeral home Monday, Aug. 18 from 4 to 7 p.m.
Memorial gifts in his memory may be made to the VFW Post 8006, 18 Meadow St., Florence, MA 01060.
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Mitchell Funeral Home
15 Park Street Easthampton, MA 01027
Published in Daily Hampshire Gazette on Aug. 16, 2014