John Wesselman

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The ashes of John Bernard Wesselman will be interred, with complete honor guard, at 11 a.m. Friday, December 30, 2016 at the Houston National Cemetery.

John died Tuesday, September 6, 2016 at Broadmoor at Creekside Park in The Woodlands at the age of 88. He was born in Moberly, Mo. on October 21, 1927, the son of Irene and Bernard Wesselman. He is preceded in death by his parents and his wife of more than 60 years, Pauline Wesselman, who died July 7, 2016.

He was the eldest of seven siblings, with three brothers and three sisters, Vivian, Roy, Jean, Patricia, Donald, and Robert. He grew up in Salisbury, Mo., where his family operated three grocery stores, and he attended St. Joseph's School through eighth grade. He later attended public high school briefly until his family moved to Cape Girardeau, Mo., where his father trained pilots for the U.S Air Force. He graduated with honors from St. Mary's High School in Cape Girardeau and enlisted in the U.S. Army shortly after graduation. He served in Japan with the Allied Occupation forces and was placed in charge of a commissary as a result of his family grocery experience.

He returned from military service to find his family had moved to Palacios, Texas, to begin a cattle and farming operation. He soon went to work as an oilfield roughneck throughout southern and eastern Texas. He later enrolled at The University of Texas, where he studied geology and met his future wife, Pauline Anna Paulissen of Austin, Texas. He graduated from UT with a geology degree in 1954. Later in life, he earned a Masters of Business Administration degree from the University of Southern Mississippi in 1979. After graduating from UT, he worked in oil field jobs in the that took his growing family to Shreveport, La. and eastern Texas. He was offered a job with the state of Texas to map the ground water in West Texas, which he did for four years, moving from Fort Stockton to Pecos, and finally San Angelo. He moved to Houston in 1959 and joined the United States Geological Survey, where he continued to research and publish reports often cited in the study of Texas public ground water supply. In 1972, he took a new position within the USGS to study the feasibility of tapping into the geothermal layer of the earth to produce energy. This required a move to Bay Saint Louis, Miss., where John retired in 1983.

After John retired, his family built a new home in the Sam Houston National Forest, west of New Waverly. John and his family cleared some of the forest, making way for space to grow blueberries, Christmas trees, and catfish, before he focused on his favorite endeavor, raising grandchildren. As the last of John and Pauline's eight children left home, the forest home became a favorite gathering spot for children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. Family gatherings included work in the forest, hearty meals, the occasional fireworks display, and, of course, legendary bonfires. In retirement, John and Pauline traveled across the nation and to countries on four continents to keep up with adult children working in Australia, Japan, South America, England, and elsewhere.

John and Pauline were members of St. Joseph Catholic Church in New Waverly for more than 30 years. He is survived by his eight children: Francis Wesselman of Palmer, Texas; Catherine Neff of Corinth, Miss.; William Wesselman of Knoxville, Tenn.; Carol Gaytan of Angleton, Texas; Alice Wesselman of Greensboro, N.C.; Michael Wesselman of Montgomery; Timothy Wesselman of Albany, Ga.; and James Wesselman of West Columbia; 10 grandchildren; and five great grandchildren. He is also survived by his six previously named siblings and their extended families. His arrangements were handled by Cavazos Funeral Home of Houston. In September, Father Richard Paulissen, Pauline's brother, celebrated a Mass of the Resurrection for John at St. Joseph Catholic Church in New Waverly.

Funeral Home
Cavazos Funeral Home, Inc.
2000 Cypress Landing Dr.
Houston, TX 77090
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Published on from Dec. 29, 2016 to Jan. 11, 2017
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