Donald Otto Wenze

Donald Otto Wenzel age 81 of Rogers City passed away peacefully at home January 27, 2018. He was born May 27, 1936 in Rogers City to Edward and Matilda (Krause) Wenzel.


He was employed as a merchant sailor on the Great Lakes for 30 years, serving on the Calcite I, Rogers City, Irvin L. Clymer, W.F. White, T.W. Robinson, Calcite II and the John G. Munson where he served for nine years. After he retired as a sailor he worked as a security guard at Calcite for 15 years.

Don enjoyed hunting and snowmobiling in his early years. Trips were made to the hunting camp where he would often pull out his harmonica and play a tune. He also was a big Detroit Tigers’ fan and enjoyed watching their games.

Don was also an avid bird-watcher who enjoyed making birdhouses and feeding his birds. He will be greatly missed by his beloved devoted wife, Shirley, his loving daughters and family and friends.

Don is survived by his wife, Shirley; four daughters, Tamela (Anthony) Ventura of Canton, Terri (James) Orban of Suttons Bay, Annette (Curt) Vogelheim of Rogers City and Amy (Mark) Pilarski of Traverse City; 16 grandchildren, Bethany (Chris) Dembny, Bryan (Nicole) Budnick, Lauren Plath, Elly (Alex) Moden, Holly (Jacob) Adams, Jared (fiancée, Molly Maynard) Orban, Aaron Orban, Heather (Chad) Cook, Justin “Bub” Vogelheim, Jenna (fiancé, Justin Vekaryasz) Vogelheim, Evan “Mook” Vogelheim, Ashley Pilarski, Joshua (fiancée, Kelly Kakaley) Pilarski, Ethan Pilarski, Anthony Ventura and Maria Ventura; seven great-grandchildren, Noah, Amelia and Hannah Dembny, Caige and Cannen Cook, Braylon Vogelheim and Avery Adams.

Many nieces, nephews and cousins also survive him.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Edward and Matilda; three brothers, Howard, Edward and Penny; and two sisters, Dorothy Fleming and Lucille Mays.

Visitation was at the Beck Funeral Home on Monday, with a prayer service at 7:30 p.m. His funeral service was conducted Tuesday with the Rev. Eric Voigt officiating.

Interment took place at Memorial Park Cemetery. Memorials may be given to St. John Lutheran Church in memory of Donald Wenzel. Don will be forever remembered for his quiet nature and sense of humor.

Sail away Don, on to eternity and on to the beautiful shores of heaven.

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