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Richard E. Wenner
May 7, 1933
January 20, 2024
Richard E. Wenner, 90, passed away peacefully the evening of Saturday, January 20, 2024 at the Ames Family Hospice House. Born May 7, 1933 to the late Elmer and Florence (Gau) Wenner, he was preceded in death by his wife of 51 years, Martha (Pesto). He is survived by his children: David Wenner (Bobbi) of Rocky River and Susie Snyder (Jimmy) of Columbus, Ohio. Four Grandsons: Andrew Wenner of Fort Mill, SC, Adam Wenner of Rocky River, J. Wesley Snyder III of Brownsburg, IN, R. Ben Snyder of Washington, DC. Great Grandson: Dawson Wenner.
In life, Rich was a humble, quiet and cheerful man, a devoted father and hard-working provider who never complained. He loved all things lighting or electrical. Richard always enjoyed being socially engaged and his dry sense of humor usually included hilarious terminology we will surely miss.
Rich grew up on East 127th St and attended Cleveland schools: Patrick Henry Jr HS and Collinwood HS. Although being an only child, his life was very rich with lots of neighborhood friends and large extended Wenner family where there was always social activity. He was a Press carrier and led the neighborhood boys "Hobo Club", who built an actual log cabin in the Twinsburg woods. As a teenager, he was a Gym Leader and high school, and entered The Press Carriers Competition - a big event with 20,000 in attendance at the Cleveland Auditorium doing a tumbling act with a couple guys. It was a huge deal then and they finished 3rd place for a cash prize.
Richard was drafted into the Army in 1954 during the end of the Korean conflict and spent a year in Japan at Johnson Air Force Base near Tokyo. He worked on the Radar/Electronic Ordinance Repair of the T-38 Anti-Aircraft gun. During that time, he proposed and two weeks later married Martha, later finishing his Army service in 1956.
Rich studied Electrical Engineering and pledged Pi Sigma Tau while at Fenn College, and graduated from Cleveland State University in 1965. This led him to work at General Electric Lighting Institute - NELA Park in Cleveland for 38 years. There he handled testing and lamp applications in Photo Engineering, Automotive and Product Testing and Photometry and had three IES (Illuminating and Engineering Society) papers published.
Having a desire to serve the community, Rich was a charter member of the MetroWest Kiwanis and active in that 40 years in many capacities, very active in Scouting and was a Cub Master - planning Super Events and trips and built a camping equipment trailer. Because he loved projects and working with his hands, he did woodworking and finished the basement himself at the home where he lived 57 years. At the peak of the initial color TV rage, Rich tasked himself to assemble and build a big color television set from a kit which involved soldering every circuit board and transistor, wiring etc. This was no Lego task!
In retirement, grass didn't grow under his feet! He loved being busy and was always looking for a project. Rich played Piano all over the west side, volunteering at Lakewood Hospital 20 years and many nursing homes, the Senior Center, playing and performing with dear friends and neighbors Jerry and Carol McCabe, taking their "act" around town. They joked that the show was well worth the price! Those years were filled with lots of laughs and comradery. Following in the footsteps of his father, who roller-skated into his 80s, Rich took up figure skating near retirement in 1992 and enjoyed ice dancing and the Adult Skate group at River Ice Rink for 20 years, skating into his 80s. In recent years, and through two weeks ago, Richard enjoyed activities at the Rocky River Senior Center, particularly the Monday singing group.
The highlight of 2023 that marked his 90th birthday, Rich was able to go on an Honor Flight to Washington, DC where he was flown on a charter flight with 85 other veterans and volunteers to spend a whirlwind day touring Memorials, honored for his service in the Korean War and returned late that evening to a crowd of 2000 at the Columbus airport. They were met with a gauntlet of cheers, signs and bagpipes, welcoming home all the veterans. Being deeply patriotic and passionate about his service, this was truly a pinnacle of his life experiences.
Services for Richard will be held Saturday, January 27th, 2024 at Church of the Redeemer, 23500 Center Ridge Road, Westlake, Ohio 44145
Visitation hours at the Church will be 1:00 - 2:00 pm, followed by a Celebration of Life service in the Sanctuary at 2:00 pm and Fellowship time and refreshments at 3:00 pm.
In lieu of flowers donations may be made to: Church of the Redeemer or Honor Flight of Columbus, PO Box 20133, Columbus, Ohio 43220. (440) 333-9774 - www.buschcares.com
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