October 29, 2010
Saturday, November 6, 2010 11:00 AM Urbana United Methodist Church
Friday, November 5, 2010 5 - 7 pm VERNON FUNERAL HOME, URBANA
H. Wendell Weller, 88, of Urbana, passed away Friday, October29, 2010 in Hearth & Home of Urbana.
He was born October 1, 1922 in Clinton County, OH son of Oscar and Ruth (Bevan) Weller. Wendell was a 1940 graduate of Urbana Local School and later enlisted in the United States Army Air Corp during WWII.
Prior to enlisting Mr. Weller worked at Grimes Manufacturing where Warren Grimes played a key role in feeding Wendell’s passion for flying. As a young man Wendell spent most of his leisure time at Grimes Field. Mr. Grimes even supplied his own single engine, two place Luscomb for Mr. Weller to take his bride on their honeymoon on August 10, 1945.
Flying was in Mr. Weller’s blood and he realized his dream of having his own airport. Wendell built a public use airstrip, Weller Airport, on his farm in the 1960’s. He was a long time member of the EAA (Experimental Aircraft Assoc.) and hosted several fly-ins on the farm. Over the years Weller Airport had numerous visitors with some of the most memorable being the Good Year Blimp and the Spirit of Saint Louis. The medivac helicopters have used Weller Airport too. Mr. Weller is a member of the Champaign County Pilots Association and Weller Airport was used as the first location for our local radio controlled aircraft club.
As a farmer all his life he was dedicated to improving agriculture here in the United States and in Europe. He began his service to farmers as the local organization director for the Champaign County Farm Bureau. Then Farm Bureau sent Mr. Weller to Arizona where there was no Farm Bureau organization and his assignment was to form local councils and establish the Arizona Farm Bureau. Mr. Weller flew his single engine airplane from rancher to rancher all over Arizona to speak with ranchers and encourage them to become members of this brand new organization. Upon returning to Ohio he was elected to serve as the Vice President of the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation followed by 2 terms as the President of the Ohio Farm Bureau. At that time he was the youngest man ever to serve in this position. He was instrumental in raising money to develop the Champaign County Landmark, now our local Heritage Company. He believed in the advantages for farmers of forming cooperatives. As a visionary leader for all farmers, his passion for improving agriculture resulted in more open trading and the establishment of the European Common Market. Wendell enjoyed sitting in the homes of European farmers and listening to their concerns and situations and firmly believed that the future of agriculture was a bright one.
Mr. Weller continued his work as a member of the Board of Directors for Nationwide Insurance Company. Again he was the youngest member to ever serve in that distinguished position. He was the founder and Chairman of Nationwide Communications Inc. which grew from just a handful of radio stations to many more radio stations and the purchase of television stations across the United States. After 24 years of service Peter Jennings did a tribute to Mr. Weller upon his retirement from the Board of Directors for his many contributions to the broadcasting industry.
Mr. Weller also enjoyed serving his local community as he was a member of the Rotary Club for over 20 years. He was a member and active leader of the Urbana United Methodist Church. As a Mason he was a 60 year member of Harmony Lodge. He was also on the Champaign County Planning Commission for many years and during that time he developed Maple Lane Estates on his farm east of Urbana off of Three Mile Rd.
His hobbies include antique tractors and he restored the Cockshutt 30 he farmed with and belonged to an antique tractor club. Wendell traveled a lot and some of it was in his motor home. He held dear his friends from the Chapter 23 Roamin’ Ramblers and the many trips they took together.
He is survived by his wife of 65 years, Evelyn (Downey) Weller; daughter, Lynn Adell (Jerry)Mirtes of Urbana; son Timothy Wendell (Staci) Weller of Urbana; grandchildren, Wendee Cook (Jeffrey) Giovanelli of Canton, MI, Capt. Christopher Cook of Springfield, Justin and Jared Weller of Urbana; great grandchildren, Mackenzie Cook-Brandenburg of Terre Haute, IN, Kari Giovanelli of Canton, MI, Sophia Giovanelli of Canton, MI and several nieces & nephews; as well as a family member who came to the Weller family from Germany, Werner Hoffman. In 1956, as a foreign exchange student, Mr. Hoffman began farming with Mr. Weller and then became an American citizen and part of the Weller family.
Wendell is preceded in death by his parents and brother, Kenneth Howard Weller.
A gathering of family and friends will be held from 5-7 p.m. on Friday, November 5, 2010 in the VERNON FUNERAL HOME, Urbana. Funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday in the Urbana United Methodist Church with Pastor Jeff Harper officiating. Following his wishes his body will be cremated. Graveside services will be held at the convenience of the family.
Memorial contributions may be made to Community Mercy Hospice, 444 West Harding Rd, Springfield, OH 45504 or to The Wherehouse, 1000 Edgewood Ave, Urbana, OH 43078. Condolences may be expressed to the family at www.vernonfh.com.