Obit: Wendt, James – Navy Lt. (1943 - 1967)
Surnames: Wendt, Heap, Melbinger, Buchanan, Lyndahl, Phaneuf, Goessling, Waldeck
---------Source: OWEN ENTERPRISE (Owen, Clark County, Wis.) 09 Feb 1967
Wendt, James – Navy Lt. (15 FEB 1943 - 03 FEB 1967)
At two o'clock yesterday afternoon (Wednesday, Feb. 8) funeral services for Navy Lt. James Wendt were held at the United Church of Christ with Rev. Robert E. Goessling officiating. Military rites were conducted at Riverside Cemetery by Van Huizen – Fritz American Legion Post 123, of Owen (Clark Co., Wis.).
Lt. (j.G.) William Arthur Heap, a former classmate at Northwestern and a fellow student at his Texas base, escorted his remains to Owen and was the military escort for his parents at the funeral services.
Serving as pallbearers were Lonnie Melbinger, Vern Buchanan, Eddie Ray Wendt, Owen; C. Wendt, Eau Claire; Phillip Lyndahl of Chippewa Falls. And Theodore Phaneuf, Abbotsford.
Lt. Wendt was killed Friday in a training action when his F9T Cougar jet failed to pull out of an inverted spin stall maneuver at 30,000 feet. His instructor bailed out and is hospitalized with minor injuries.
The tragic accident occurred near Victoria, Texas, and was one of the last flight tests Wendt was to have made before being presented with his God Wings in a ceremony set for next week. The presentation of his "wings" was to have been made by his mother, Mrs. Harold A. Wendt, city. Wendt of this city, said yesterday the base commander had told him in a telephone conversation that a fact-finding investigation is being made of the craft and as soon as it is completed he will received a full detailed report. However, according to statements made by the injured instructor, he order Lt. Wendt to eject when it became apparent they could not pull the plane of of its spin. He was in the rear of the seat of the trainer and had to eject first. He said he saw Jim's hand's stretch over his head to release himself as he left the plane. Jim's father said, "Jim's body was more than 200 years from the wreckage and free of th ejection seat, but the chute never did open."
Jim Wendt, 23, was born at Stanley, but lived here all his life. Word of his death shocked not only his immediate family, but the entire community, as he was a highly respected youth who had lived a wholesome and exemplary life while attending school here, where he participated in baseball for four years, football for two years; basketball, chorus and held office in the Latin and Drama Clubs, in addition to being president of the Student Council in his Senior year of studay, and the delegate to Badger State in his Junior year.
With his graduation from high school he won a Naval Reserve Officer's Training Corps scholarship and attended Northwester University and received a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1965.
Soon after graduation he was commissioned an ensign in the Navy, holding that rank until last December, when he was promoted.
Surviving, besides his parents, are a sister, Mrs. Jack (Marilyn) Waldeck, Belvidere, Ill.; and a brother, Randall, a student at Wisconsin State University at Eau Claire.
While members of his family and friends mourn the tragic loss of such a fine young man and a youth who was dedicating his life to the service and patriotism of his county, they may find it somewhat consoling to know he lost his life doing what he lived most, as not too long ago he told his parents, "There is nothing, just nothing, that I enjoy doing more that flying.."
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