William "Red" Wetzel, 85, died on Wednesday, May 21, 2014 surrounded by his family. He was born on June 22, 1928 to Myles and Violet (Widmer) Wetzel in Pitman, Pennsylvania, the oldest of six children. He was baptized in St. William's Catholic Church in Gardiner, Montana in 1955 and married Jeanette Reardon in Clontarf, Minnesota on June 6, 1956.
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For 32 years, "Red" worked for the National Park Service, maintaining the buildings, roads, trails and campgrounds in Yellowstone, Kings Canyon, Death Valley and North Cascades National Park. In Yellowstone and Kings Canyon he was also responsible for the care, shoeing, vet needs and assignments of the 80+head of horses used by each park. He planned, built and maintained the roads, trails and campgrounds in the newly formed North Cascades National Park.
Bill was a devoted Catholic and enjoyed many family functions. He served as a lector, Eucharistic minister, and church council member at Immaculate Heart of Mary and always prayed for his children and grandchildren at daily Mass. He especially liked to take care of the maintenance needs of whatever parish he lived in. He was also active in the Knights of Columbus. He was a hard worker and a Master Composter. He loved gardening, fishing, hunting and recycled everything, even way back in the 1970's. His motto was "use it up, wear it out, make do or do without". He was an avid reader and strongly encouraged his family to pursue higher education.
Bill is survived by his wife of almost 58 years, Jeanette Wetzel; four daughters Jennifer (and Don) Strand of Clear Lake; Rebecca (and Byron) Roberts of Irmo, South Carolina; Rachel (and Dean) Youngquist of Mount Vernon; Stephanie (and Bruce) Landsem of Lake Elmo, Minnesota; and one son, Steven (and Candace) Wetzel of Ellensburg; grandchildren: William Strand, Mary Burt, Janette Smith, Anne Harvey, Sarah Ali, Putnam Roberts, Thomas Youngquist, Elizabeth Reese, David Youngquist, Clara, Zoey, Lily, and Jack Wetzel, Rachel, Andy, Joey, and Anna Landsem; and 14 great-grandchildren; sisters Ruby Bellis and Evelyn McDanel, brothers Bob and Dick Wetzel and special neighbors Pat and Glenice Hanna and family.
He was preceded in death by an infant son William "Billy" Joseph Wetzel, his parents and brother Ralph.
Mass of Christian burial will be at 10:30am on Wednesday, May 28 at Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish, 719 Ferry Street, Sedro-Woolley. Father Martin Bourke will officiate. Interment will follow at the Sedro-Woolley Union Cemetery. A vigil rosary will be Tuesday, May 27th at 7:00 pm in the church. A time of visitation will be available on Sunday from noon to 2 pm and on Tuesday from 9 am to 1 pm.
Memorial contributions can be made in Bill's name to Immaculate Conception's New Church Building Fund, 215 E. Division, Mount Vernon, WA 98273 or Pregnancy Choices for Concrete Office, 617 W. Division Street, Mount Vernon, WA 98273. Funeral arrangements are under the care of Lemley Chapel, Sedro-Woolley.
Share memories of Bill and sign the online guest register at www.lemleychapel.com.
1008 Third Street Sedro Woolley, WA 98284
Published in Skagit Valley Herald Publishing Company on May 26, 2014