In Memory of Wendell C. Wilcke

Wendell  C. Wilcke
Wendell C. Wilcke
Born: October 1, 1930
Died: October 30, 2019
Age: 89
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Wendell C. Wilcke
October 1, 1930 - October 30, 2019
From: Battle Creek, IA

Wendell C. Wilcke, age 89, of Battle Creek, Iowa passed away on Wednesday, October 30, 2019, at the Horn Memorial Hospital of Ida Grove, Iowa.

A Funeral Service will be held at 10:30 a.m., Saturday, November 2, 2019, at the First Presbyterian Church of Battle Creek, Iowa. Rev. Kevin J. Freese will officiate. Committal will follow in the Mount Hope Cemetery of Battle Creek, Iowa. Military Rites will be conducted by the Maple Valley Post No. 364 of the American Legion of Battle Creek, IA. A Visitation will be held from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., Friday, November 1, 2019, at the First Presbyterian Church of Battle Creek, Iowa. The Christensen-Van Houten Funeral Home of Battle Creek, Iowa is in charge of the funeral arrangements. Condolences may be sent online at

Wendell C. Wilcke was born in the farm home outside of Battle Creek, Iowa, on October 1, 1930, to Christian and Lydia (Will) Wilcke. He was named after his mother’s physician, Dr. Wendell Crane. Wendell was the ninth child born into the family. He had four brothers and four sisters. Two years after Wendell’s birth, his youngest sister was born to complete the family.

Wendell attended rural school and public school in Ida Grove, Iowa. Wendell did not graduate from high school because he was needed to help with the farming. At the age of 16, he left home and lived with his sister, Phyllis, and her husband, Harlan Christie. In 1970, Wendell earned his GED, the same year his eldest daughter graduated from Battle Creek High School.

Wendell was baptized in the Lutheran faith and later joined St. John’s Lutheran Church in Battle Creek. After marrying Jean Elizabeth Lake on May 9, 1951, in the First Presbyterian Church in Battle Creek, Wendell became a member of that church for the remaining years of his life and served as a Deacon, Elder, and a Trustee.

In 1951, Wendell and Jean moved to the Lake family farm and began farming on 160 acres with a John Deere B which was later restored by their grandson, Thad Wilcke. Wendell raised horses, Classic Shetlands, fed cattle, sheep, and hogs. He also had a cow/calf operation. Wendell loved all farm animals but horses were his love. He had grown up with horses, driving them with farm equipment at the age of 10. He continued to ride horses, and drive them with various buggies and wagons, as well as breaking horses to ride. Wendell loved children and enjoyed giving them horse and wagon rides. The children always came running and always remembered him.

Wendell served in the Ida Grove Division of the National Guard for seven years. He served as a country school director, a township trustee, a township assessor, a First State Bank Director, and was a member of the Battle Creek School Board for twelve years.

He always believed in taking care of the land. After farming for 43 years, Wendell and Jean moved to Battle Creek, in 1993. Their son, Jon and his wife, Deb, took over the farming operation. Wendell continued going to the farm to work with his Classic Shetlands and growing and preserving vegetables with Jean and sharing them with family and friends. He was a strong Democrat. His German heritage made him a believer in helping the poor and underprivileged.

Left to cherish his memory include his wife, Jean, of 68 years; four children: Sue Mellberg (Greg) of Menlo Park, CA; Sandy Manderfeld (Gary) of Leawood, KS; Jon Wilcke (Deb) of Danbury, IA and Julie LeVake (Mike) of Lee’s Summit, MO; and an exchange student, Diana Derka Glikman (Pablo) of Rome, Italy; seven grandchildren and five great grandchildren: Nathan Manderfeld (Kelsey) of Overland Park, KS and Nora; Dustin Manderfeld (Megan) of Overland Park, KS and Anika, Ayla, and Brendan; Drew Manderfeld (Amanda) of Olathe, KS, and Edwin; Thad Wilcke of Des Moines, IA; Dr. Brianna Wilcke (fiancé Dr. Colton Roy) of Lansing, MI; Justin LeVake (Michael Ahmad) of Glendale, CA; and Adam LeVake of Des Moines, IA; three sisters: Phyllis Christie of Battle Creek, IA, Bonnie Spotts of Battle Creek, IA and Isabel Plagge of Fremont, NE; and many nieces and nephews.

Preceding him in death are his parents: Christian and Lydia Wilcke; his sisters: Francis Rohwedder (Archie) and Marie Schultz (Alvin); his brothers: Ervin Wilcke (Mabel), Walt Wilcke (Helen), Harlan Wilcke (Leona) and Floyd Wilcke (Helen); half-sisters: Helen Dose (William) and Bernice Trelor (Orsen); half-brothers: Marvin Wilcke (Marie) and Harold Wilcke (Esther).


10:30 a.m., Saturday, 
November 2, 2019
First Presbyterian Church
Battle Creek, Iowa


Rev. Kevin J. Freese


Nathan Manderfeld
Dustin Manderfeld
Thaddeus Wilcke
Drew Manderfeld
Justin LeVake
Adam LeVake
Dr. Brianna Wilcke

Honorary Pallbearers
Kelsey Manderfeld
Megan Manderfeld
Amanda Manderfeld
Michael Ahmad
Dr. Colton Roy


5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Friday, November 1, 2019
First Presbyterian Church
Battle Creek, Iowa


Dixie Brueck, Organist

"How Great Thou Art" ~ hymn
"When I Get Where I'm Going" ~ recorded
"Ave Maria" ~ recorded


Mount Hope Cemetery
Battle Creek, Iowa


Thursday, November 14, 2019 at 1:09 PM
“My sympathy to all the family members of Wendell. He worked for my husband Hooley Mcguire (deceased) at the gas station here in Holstein. Was the nicest, friendliest man ever. A verybh”
- Janice McGuire
Saturday, November 2, 2019 at 7:25 AM
“Wendell and Jean were my parents best friends when they were young and newly married. In the 50's my parents, Roger & Petie Nielsen, moved to California. I have many fond memories visiting Wendell and family on our family vacations, Last year my wife and I visited Jean and Wendell in Battle Creek on our 5 week RV trip. That 3 day visit was by far the highlight of our trip. Wendell will be greatly missed, our love and prayers to Jean and the rest of the family!”
- David & Jennie Nielsen
Saturday, November 2, 2019 at 7:25 AM
“Wendell was the greatest. I loved talking with him and he always could be counted on to make me laugh. Rest In Peace old cowboy! I'll never forget the man. A truly great family!! God bless you”
- Mike Sorensen
Saturday, November 2, 2019 at 7:25 AM
“So sorry to hear about Wendell’s passing. I have great memories of the farm, Julie, the horses and buggies and the bunnies. Praying peace and sending love. ”
- Allison Brown
Friday, November 1, 2019 at 2:54 PM
“Julie & Family - Very sorry for your loss and condolences from Persona! What an amazing man!”
- Amber Dahl
Friday, November 1, 2019 at 9:01 AM
“Dear Wendell's family, our thoughts and prayers continue during this difficult time..... We have many fond memories of Wendell. He made darling wood rocker horses for our daughters which are now being enjoyed by our grandchildren. Yes, they remember the fun he provided while riding his horses! It was obvious the love he had for his wife and family, he was so proud of them all! He so enjoyed his animals and the land. He is truly one of the strongest men I know. It's been a privilege to know him. God bless you, Jean and family. Love John, Peggy & family”
- Peggy and John Anderson and families
Friday, November 1, 2019 at 9:01 AM
“Jean and family, Wendell will always hold a spot in my heart.
- Flona Halley
Friday, November 1, 2019 at 9:01 AM
“I have many fond memories of times spent at the farm and going to rodeos and such. I could count on Wendell to greet me and chat whenever I came back to Iowa. Condolences to the entire family.”
- Jon Gailey
Friday, November 1, 2019 at 9:01 AM
“Wishing peace and comfort for all of you during this sad time. Wish I was there to hug everyone. Love you all.”
- Linda, Dave and Erin Merklein
Friday, November 1, 2019 at 9:00 AM
“Jean and family, My deepest sympathy to you for your loss. Wendell was such a nice man. I enjoyed riding the bean buggy for him, and he always had a smile and a kind word. God Bless!”
- Fern Krayenhagen
Friday, November 1, 2019 at 9:00 AM
“Jean, Sandy and families: We are so sorry to hear of Wendell's passing. He was such a neat guy always loving to give you a hard time and always enjoying life. Will never forget the love and passion he had for his family--and yes his horses. He will be deeply missed by everyone who had the pleasure of knowing him. Our thoughts and prayers are with you in this difficult time. Grace & peace. Carl”
- Carl & Gaylene
Friday, November 1, 2019 at 9:00 AM
“Our sympathy to Jean and family. Wendell was a sweetheart!”
- Glenn & Rita Goodenow
Thursday, October 31, 2019 at 3:06 PM
“Our Prayers to Jean and family. He was such a sweet guy. Betty Treiber and Gary”
- bettytreiber
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