O n Sunday, November 22, 2020 Donald Wenger, loving husband and community leader, died at age 90. Donald was born May 20, 1930 in Sabetha, Kansas to Joe and Dorothy Wenger. He received his undergraduate degree in Architecture from Kansas State University. Shortly after graduating, he married Delores “Kitty” Schmid. During the Korean War, he served the U.S. Air Force in Fairbanks, Alaska. He and his family returned to Sabetha following his service, and he began work at Wenger Manufacturing.
Donald's time at Wenger Mfg was enormously successful. Under the stewardship of himself and his cousin LaVon Wenger, Wenger grew to become the largest company in its field on the entire globe. Donald was enormously proud of the community of Sabetha. He was quoted as saying, “We owe [Wenger's success] primarily to the remarkable labor-friendly work ethic that was and still is available to us in this small central Kansas village of 2,500.” He was known for treating all employees with respect and consideration. Doing so reflected deeply held belief but also temperament: Donald always treated others with respect. That was his character.
Donald was a devoted hunter and traveler, pursuing his passion in locales as near as the pastures of northeast Kansas and as far as the Mongolian steppe. He loved to hunt with those he cared about, and the people he met while journeying formed a lifelong global network of friendships. Hunting was also an outlet for two of Donald's other passions: his draftsmanship and love of art. He was an expert amateur engraver, and he assembled a world-class collection of exotic shotguns and firearms, many featuring the work of the best engravers in the discipline.
He is survived by his wife; his sister, Delores Brown; his two sons, Gregg (Melinda) Wenger and Jeff (Brenda) Wenger; his two daughters, Kim (Eric) Beeby and Anna (Chip) Fichtner; his ten grandchildren, Alex, Olivia, Lauren, Christine, Patrick, Paul, Joe, Grace, Charlie, and Annabelle; and three great-grandchildren, Eleanor, Gio, and Isabelle.
A Private Family Service will be held. Interment will be in the Albany Cemetery. Memorial contributions may be made to the Sabetha Community Hospital or the Apostolic Christian Home, sent in care of Popkess Mortuary, 823 Virginia Street, Sabetha, KS 66534.