Obit: Wendt, Lt. (j. g.) James H. (? - 1967)

Contact: Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon

Surnames: Wendt, Waldeck, Botnen, Downing, Yenni

----Source: Clark County Press (Neillsville, Clark Co., WI) 2/9/1967

Wendt, Lt. (J. g.) James H. (? - 3 February 1967)

Several Neillsville area residents were expected Wednesday afternoon to attend funeral services in Owen for Lt. (j. g.) James H. Wendt, 23 year-old-son of Postmaster and Mrs. Harold Wendt of Owen, who was killed in the crash of his F9T Cougar jet training plane in Texas last Friday.

Wendt was ki9lled when his plane went into a spin-stall maneuver at 30,000 feet and failed to come out. His was the third training plane crash in south Texas in the week, but Wendt was the first to go down with his ship.

Marine Capt. Bobby G. Downing, 29, of Goldsmith, Tex., an instructor flying with Wendt, was able to eject from the plane but suffered minor injuries when he parachuted to the ground. Wendt’s body was reported to have been found 200 yards from the wreckage of the plane.

He was scheduled to receive his naval wings at ceremonies set for February 17, and his father and mother had projected a trip to Texas to witness the ceremony. Wendt had been in the navy since 1965, and successfully completed his first solo flight in January of 1966.

He was a graduate of Owen-Withee High School and attended Northwestern University under a naval reserve officers training program.

While at home, young Wendt was an avid “ham” radio fan, and was widely known among short wave radio enthusiasts. William H. Yenni of Neillsville recalls carrying on radio conversations with young Wendt during the time he was in high school in Owen, and says that his parents occasionally had to remonstrate with him to leave the short wave radio alone and go to bed nights.

Even so, he sometimes went to the attic of the house, in which the radio equipment was kept, and carried on clandestine operations until the scraping of his chair on the attic floor brought remonstrations. Later, young Wendt found a way around that. He began putting the chair on pillows so that there would be no sound.

Besides his parents, Lt. Wendt leaves a brother, Randall J., at home; and a sister, Mrs. Jack Waldeck of Belvidere, Ill. His mother is a sister of the late Olaf Botnen of Neillsville and was raised in this community.



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