BILL WENKER

Obituary
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Former pastor of the First Christian Church of Pleasureville, William A. Wenker, born August 29, 1930, in Abington, Pennsylvania to the late Harold Edward Wenker and Blanche Hazlett Anderson, died August 12, 2018, just 17 days shy of his 88th birthday.
Young William was raised by "market gardeners" on farmland in Bustleton, Pennsylvania, where he worked alongside his brother Harold E. Jr. ("Bud"), his father, grandfather and cousins growing vegetables and pansies that they sold from a flatbed truck in downtown Philadelphia.
He was a graduate of Frankford High School, Philadelphia; Millersville University (Bachelor of Science); Armed Forces Staff College; Naval Intelligence School; and Lexington Theological Seminary (Doctorate).
Mr. Wenker was a retired commander in the United States Navy, where he served in the Korean and Vietnam wars. He served aboard the United States Ships Salem (CA-139), Alstede (AF-48), McNair (DD-679) and Conway (DD-507). He taught midshipmen at the U.S. Naval Academy, and represented the United States as the Assistant U.S. Naval Attache to the Republic of South Africa. He also served in the Defense Intelligence Agency.
Following retirement from the Navy, Bill entered the ministry, serving the First Christian Church of Pleasureville while he attended Lexington Theological Seminary, and then United Methodist Church congregations in New Jersey at Haines Neck, Pedricktown, North Wildwood, Wildwood Crest, and at Asbury UMC in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Most recently, he loved teaching Sunday School for all his friends at the New Covenant United Methodist Church of Collierville, Tennessee.
Bill's favorite pasttimes included anything outdoors – farm work in Henry County was no work at all – all fresh air and goodness; he loved living in Pleasureville! He enjoyed both salt and fresh water fishing, serving in the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary of Cape May, New Jersey, and playing golf on the many courses in The Villages, Florida with friends from the church. Indoors, Bill was an avid reader, always pulled for his Philadelphia Phillies and thoroughly enjoyed woodworking in his shop.
Joan Wainwright Gassner was the primary focus and love of his life over 63 years of marriage. Bill said of Joan, "If ever a lady fulfilled the virtues of Proverbs 31, it is my wife." That verse reads, "Her husband can trust her, and she will greatly enrich his life. There are many virtuous and capable women in the world, but you surpass them all (verses 11:29)."
Along with his wife Joan, he is survived by three sons; Robert William, a graduate of Henry County High School (Rebecca Ann) Wenker of Memphis, Tennesse, Eric Anderson (Alena) Wenker of Nashville, Tennesse and also a graduate of Henry County High, and Mart Wainwright (Cheryl Anne) Wenker of Tulsa, Oklahoma.
He leaves behind six grandchildren: Jennifer Elizabeth Wenker, Christina Grace Grizzard, Stephanie May Wenker, John William Wenker , William Anderson Wenker III and David Eric Wenker; and one great grandchild, Jacob Ray Grizzard.
Along with his parents, William is pre-deceased by his son, William Anderson Wenker Jr.; and a brother, Harold E. Wenker.
Bill was buried next to his son Billy in the United States Naval Academy cemetery, Annapolis, Maryland.
Published in Henry County Local from Aug. 29 to Sept. 5, 2018
bullet U.S. Coast Guard bullet U.S. Navy bullet Vietnam War